Welcome to the omega of the "goth" age, and with it one of the more impressive modern werewolf films to ever come out. Ginger Snaps landed with a dull thud right in the middle horror's detour into the depressing minimalist world of the handheld, post-Scream era nihilism. Sort of a period (can't help but blush at the unintended pun of "period" for this film) of piecemeal regrouping for horror films, it's a modern retelling of an ancient monster flick. Somehow, however, it manages to stay away from many of the typical teenage horror film clichés and steers right into the dull, dark atmosphere of films of the day like "Donnie Darko".
Unusual for any horror film, the main protagonists here are sisters- Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald. Even more unusual is how the female leads are treated in the film- complex characters struggling with the world they live in rather than big-titted nymphomaniacs or one note heroines. Elizabeth Perkins (Brigitte), at the time already a veteran of the horror scene after playing one of the child leads in "IT", and Katherine Isabelle (Ginger) play the apathetic and homely girls to the hilt. Both sisters are obsessed with death, in particular suicide, and spend their spare time fantasizing about ways to die and creating photo montages of their own staged suicides. Being the social misfits that they are, the run afoul of the popular crowd, leading them to seek revenge on one mean girl by way of staging the death of her beloved dog. In the process, Ginger is attacked by some creature and soon finds herself with super-human healing powers, extra hair, yadda yadda yadda- you get the idea. The rest of the movie centers around Ginger evolving into a hypersexual femme fatale, while Brigitte struggles with her own insecurities and Ginger's literal and figurative "transformation".
I suppose one could go on about all of the female subtext in the film (the cycle of the werewolf transformation is tracked by the cycle of Ginger's period), and the family subtext (sisters struggling with growing apart, social strata, and the transformation of puberty). In general though, Ginger Snaps is just a well-made, smaller film with an excellent cast that plays well off each other. The look of the final wolf is just average, at least done with practical makeup, but more astounding is the makeup showing Ginger's gradual descent into wolfiedom. The look of the film is indie, with some clear Canadian generalness that may take away some from the overall rewatchability of the film. The cast and the tone will always be there with this one, and the evolution of an age old concept is definitely worth the effort.
Scream Factory includes new interiews with actress Emily Perkins and Jesse Moss, make-up effects artist Paul Jones, and composer Mike Shields. New Women in Horror Panel Discussion. Audio Commentary with Director John Fawcett. Audio Commentary with Writer Karen Walton. Deleted scenes with optional commentary. Cast Auditions. Creation of the Beast Featurette.