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Ginger Snaps (2000)

They Dont Call It The Curse For Nothing

Directed by:

John Fawcett

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 108 minutes

US Certificate: Unrated UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Canada, United States

Disappointingly, ‘Ginger Snaps’ isn’t about Mick Hucknall going on a bloody rampage after hearing one too many wisecracks about his hair. It is, however, the next best thing – an original, modern teen werewolf film which, less than five years on from theatrical release in its native Canada, has already secured undisputable cult status amongst horror-lovers and goth kids alike.

It stars the little-known Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle as death-obsessed sisters Brigitte and Ginger. Their stereotypical goth lifestyle of droning endlessly on about committing suicide and sitting in shopping malls staring vacantly towards Dixons is interrupted one chilly full moon-lit night, when Ginge is bitten by a werewolf. Of course, we all know what that means – an insatiable blood-lust, unsightly clumps of body hair, and the sudden ability to lick her own groin.

Not very helpfully, the girls’ slightly-mad mum (Mimi Rogers) passes off her first-born’s newfound propensity for walking on all fours as simple teenage growing pains. In fact, so delighted is the batty old fool that she even bakes Ginger a cake to celebrate her ascension towards womanhood. But, unless one of the key ingredients is Pedigree Chum, you can’t help but suspect that our Ginge isn’t going to be particularly interested.

Though perhaps a little long and guilty of dragging a bit in the middle, ‘Ginger Snaps’ is a largely-enjoyable blood-soaked teen jaunt which, with its jaggy teeth and even jaggier feminist satire, is biting in more ways than one. It also self-consciously discards Hollywood’s horror rulebook, with the dialogue at one point quite literally drawing our attention to that very fact. Silver bullets and howling in silhouette make no appearance here, and neither do many of the other generic conventions we’ve come to associate with wolfing out. It gives the film a huge feeling of unpredictability, and its two leads are both confident and competent enough to pull it off.

I only wish it could have had the budget at its disposal to look better. As it is, the make-up is poor (at one point Ginger’s classmates mistake her newly shaggy appearance for a home-made Halloween costume, and they’re not far wrong), and the less said about the creature effects the better. But horror fans looking for something a bit different in the hairy beast department could do much, much worse than picking themselves up some ‘Ginger Snaps’. Who’d have thought those nice, calm people of Canada had it in them?

It's Got: A twist in the tail.

It Needs: A twist in the tale.

DVD Extras Actor screen tests, a look at how the werewolf puppet was created (given how rubbish the final product looks, it’s really not something you’d expect them to brag about!), a five minute behind-the-scenes featurette, production & cast notes, and a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Ginger Snaps Back, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed, Teen Wolf, Wolf

Summary

Low on budget but high on originality, this cult canine tale of terror is sure to give all horror fans something to bite into.

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