2000. Directed by John Fawcett.
With its garage band presentation, Ginger Snaps is a rollicking horror film that centers on the challenges of being a teenage girl by subverting the perils of puberty with blood soaked body horror and wickedly rambunctious dialogue.
Ginger and Bridgette are sisters in the quiet Canadian town of Bailey Downs. The sisters have a fascination with death and are treated as outcasts for their unusual behavior. Bridgette is attacked by a werewolf, leading to her infection. As Ginger's transformation spins out of control, Bridgette desperately searches for a cure with the town's local drug dealer. As the bodies begin to stack the two sisters' bond is tested as they approach the final showdown.
Released after the Columbine tragedy, Ginger Snaps drew significant controversy for it's subject matter, but also garnered a cult following for it's strong female characters, horror-puberty metaphors, and it's outright defiance of slasher film traditions. Karen Walton's outstanding script takes the easy shots at the lycanthrope/menstruation comparisons, but rips the warning label off and goes for the throat. The dialogue is snappy, vicious, and B movie glorious with each exchange. Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle inhabit their roles as Bridgette and Ginger with a deft grimness that fluctuates between gallows humor and high school anxiety with remarkable ease.
The legendary Mimi Rogers supports as the sisters' mother. Her campy overkill is pure bliss as she takes the over tired protective mother cliche' into reckless overdrive. As the story continues to build towards the climax, Rogers becomes more a player, and if there is a flaw, it's that her lack of presence is sorely missed whenever she's off screen.
Thom Best's cinematography captures the terror with a nostalgic feel, framing the set pieces with a vintage homecoming mood that evokes familiar awkwardness and the vibrancy of youth in equal portions. The prosthetics for the werewolves are somewhat cheesy, but that only enhances the overall groove of the story, leaving a plastique aftertaste that compliments the teenage ethos perfectly. Everyone in Ginger Snaps is wearing a mask, and the reveal of their true intentions is part of the fun.
Available now on Huluplus, Ginger Snaps is a cult phenomenon that spawned two sequels. A simple premise is compounded by solid performances and slick practical effects to produce a horror film oddity. A feminist love note that sheds any sense of pretension in favor shotgunning a teenage melodrama slasher with blatant moral and social implications. Pure, violent excess, Ginger Snaps won't disappoint if you're in the mood for some cheap thrills from the female perspective, something lacking in the ocean of male dominated horror offerings.