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Ginger Snaps
$21.90 (CDA. VERSION)

Ginger Snaps: The Review

Directed By: John Fawcett
Starring: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, Peter Keleghan, John Bourgeois, Lindsay Leese

NOTE: If you plan on buying this disc, do you mind a suggestion? Buy the Canadian Version from and have it shipped into the States. It has a whole slew of extra material not available on the US version. My bet is a special edition will be available in the States someday but right now the Canandian version is already loaded (see DVD info below).

I ran into a string of bad luck on this film. Twice I tried to see it at last year's Toronto Film Festival and both times missed out. One was simply a traffic issue, the second I was in the wrong theatre and twenty minutes into a truly awful French film before realizing this was not some artsy short before Ginger Snaps. Mon Dieu!

Fortunately some passes came in last week and no one here seemed to want to check this little art-house horror flick out. They hadn't heard the buzz yet, and others opted out because they wanted to watch our beloved Maple Leafs get trounced by the New Jersey Devils 5-1. Instead of that depressing sporting event, I chose to watch one of the best, most commercial Canadian Films in along time.

Not that there are not flaws in this flick (mostly run time) but it is well worth the view.

This is one sharp little satire of a flick. Grab Carrie, mesh it with American Werewolf In London and add in two Goth like girls who seem to be friends with the girls in Heavenly Creatures and you have most of Ginger Snaps. Add-in endless teen angst, AIDS, drugs, darkly witty one-liners, and one bitchy little field hockey girl and you're on-track to some disturbing fun.

I have to admit, it wasn't until about twenty minutes in that I actually began to get into the mindset of the film. It has an odd, detached feel to it, as do the characters, but it is all intended and used as set-up for the coming events.

See, something is killing the dogs...brutally...ripping them to shreds actually. That something ends up tearing into Ginger Fitzgerald one night and the result is she is slowly changing...again. The horrific comedy comes from her hitting her stride in puberty as she begins to grow hair, teeth, and even a tail (which really gets played for some solid laughs).

This is like a throwback to the 70's era of horror films. Not the big breasted, ditzy, run the wrong way era of gore fests but the slow, melancholy, haunting, gothic horror. Not necessarily scary as such but compelling, even when it does begin to lag. In fact if it just cut a few of the killing scenes (such as the one with a guidance counselor, but who can resist killing a guidance counselor?) this film would be the better for it.

The performances are one to adjust to and the adjustments are worth it. The Fitzgerald sisters (Emily Perkins as Brigitte and Katharine Isabelle as Ginger) are obsessed with death and as such, loners in school and creepy to the core. They stage their own deaths time and time again for school projects and the whole film comes off as a very unnerving experience as it looks at high schools in a very unhip way.

Speaking of un-hip, Mimi Rogers as their mother is pitch-perfect as an overly understanding mom who just wants the best for her children yet seemingly can not relate. She believes she has a special bond with her children because they are her girls and that is enough...mostly they humour her to keep her delusions intact which makes for some more darkly funny scenes. Both Katherine and Emily should get some attention for their roles and it would be unfair to gloss over Kris Lemche (pictured below) who gives an odd, unique nobility to! the role of a local high school drug dealer.

I should warn you though, if you don't want to see several dead dogs, lots of blood, disgusting mutations, severed fingers, or hypodermic needles hanging out of someone's neck...then avoid Ginger Snaps. But if you want to see the kind of film horror pioneers once worked on (re: low-budgets [4.1 million Canadian], strong characters and story) then check out Ginger Snaps. It is not the best horror film, but it is one of the most intriguing in a long time.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:

Commentary Track with Director John Fawcett
Commentary Track with Writer Karen Walton
Deleted Scenes with Commentary
Cast Auditions and Rehearsals
Creation of the Beast featurette
Trailers and TV Spots
Cast/Crew Bios
Photo Gallery
Production Design Artwork

REGION 1: Widescreen 1.85:1, Anamorphic

The DVD Scoop:


1) Go to the Special Features screen
2) Highlight the tape to the right of the words 'Special Features'
3) Hit Enter.
What should happen is a short little film entitled Being John Fawcett is there for you to enjoy.

Here is some mandatory related viewing according to The Wolf:

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Heavenly Creatures
An American Werewolf In London

Heavenly Creatures: The true story of two teenage girls whose obsessive imaginary world led them to plot and carry out a grisly murder in 1952 New Zealand. Based on journal entries by one of the girls. Directed by Peter Jackson, the man behind the up-coming Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Carrie: Early Stephen King novel turned into a now-classic horror film by Brian DePalma. Carrie is a painfully shy teenage girl with telekinetic powers is the target of her classmates' cruelty. Her powers grow as she comes of age. A perfect parallel to Ginger Snaps.

American Werewolf In London: A truly black comedy about two American students on a European vacation who find theirs lives changed forever as one is killed and the other begins changing into a werewolf. Terrific makeup effects and tongue-in-cheek humor make this one of the best werewolf films ever.

Evil Ash

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