Reviews: Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps Review

Ginger Snaps is an obscure Canadian werewolf film with a feminist subtext that breathed new life into the teen horror genre. Stars Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle give amazing performances as sisters who must battle lycanthropy. The screenplay was written by Karen Walton, and combines cinematic storytelling conventions with radical twists and ideas. The editing, which was nominated for a Genie Award (The Canadian equivalent to the Oscar), is one of the best examples of continuity editing in any film. The character development in this film particularly stands out, as it is extremely rare for horror movies to give their characters any personality at all, and it is even rarer for the movies to fully develop said characters. The protagonists, Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald, are both dynamic characters. They are completely different at the end of the film than they are at the beginning. They are three-dimensional, living, breathing characters. Most importantly, they are like-able characters. Similarly, the acting, particularly the performance of Emily Perkins, is incredible. Perkins delivers a flawless performance, and is proof that the best actors tend not to be A-List celebrities. While not normally a fan of continuity editing, I found that Ginger Snaps uses it to absolute perfection. The pacing is flawless. The transitions are smooth, nothing feels omitted, and there is not a single unnecessary scene or line of dialogue. This is all the more impressive considering that the entire editing process took place over the course of just a few weeks. So, is anything wrong with Ginger Snaps? Well, the use of lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty IS a little heavy handed, but this is forgivable, as it is rare that a horror film even attempts a subtext at all. This one however, goes above and beyond. Not only does it offer a subtext, it offers a feminist subtext, one that goes against social norms, and challenges the mainstream. That is what sets this film apart from the rest. Not the characters, not the writing, not the acting, not the editing. It is the fact that this film takes a major risk to challenge its audience that makes this one of my ten favorite movies of all time.