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Haddonfield Halloween - Ginger Snaps - A Review by Zoe


Two death obsessed sisters find that their dreary lives in the dismal Canadian suburb of Bailey Downs are irrevocably altered when, after a string of neighbourhood dogs are found dismembered, elder sister Ginger is bitten by a large wolf-like creature. All of a sudden puberty doesn't seem quite so bad….

****

I love this film, it’s one of my favourite werewolf movies ever and re-watching it recently just confirmed what a fabulous little gem it is. This movie displays its gore-loving sensibilities from the opening credit sequence (which by the way is a classic short film all on its own) where the morose sisters create elaborate death scenes for a class project. The teacher’s reaction after their little slide show is a good indicator of the darkly comic tone of the rest of the movie.

Plot
The plot is your fairly standard ‘bitten by a werewolf, slowly start growing hair in all the wrong places and craving carnage’ affair, but with the added twist of the onset of puberty thrown into the mix.

The timing of Ginger being bitten by a werewolf at the same moment she gets her first period, not only provides a nice allegory for ‘the curse’ but also provides some of the stand out cringe-worthy humorous moments, as Ginger struggles to deal with the consequences.

Brigitte: [Ginger has spent a while in the toilet] Ging, what's going on? Something's wrong with you. More than you being just... female. Could you just say something please?

[Brigitte walks into the toilet, and where Ginger has been slashed on her chest, there is hair]

Brigitte: Woah.
Ginger: Woah? That's it? 'Woah'? I can't have a hairy chest, B. That's fucked!

This focus on the less fun part of being female may well go some way towards explaining why this movie never quite made it into the mainstream. If male cashier’s freakouts any time women buy tampons at the supermarket is anything to go by, the male viewers of this movie will probably have been completely grossed out by the menstrual mentions. I mean people being eviscerated and having their intestines chomped on by an overgrown Alsatian – that’s fine but PERIODS? Ewww! Sigh.

Bite me
The last third of the movie should satisfy all horror fans though as it shifts away from the allegorical into the horror and violence as Ginger finds her feral self harder and harder to control. There’s an impressive body count in this film and a refreshing lack of CGI leading to convincing amounts of blood and gore all over the place. Hoorah!

Characters
All the actors in this movie do a great job. Katherine Isabelle is fearless as Ginger but special mention must go to Emily Perkins as downtrodden younger sister Brigitte and ex Mrs Tom Cruise Mimi Rogers as their dopey and clearly batshit insane mum Pamela. Pamela earns her special mention courtesy mainly of her reaction upon learning that her daughters have killed someone. Not, as you would imagine – ‘how awful, we must call the police’. Nope, more ‘ok we’ll let the house fill up with gas and explode, your Dad will blame me’.

Gore
As mentioned above this movie doesn't shy away from bloodshed. From the fake death scenes at the beginning of the film, through the dismembered pooches dotted around Bailey Downs and finally to Ginger’s human victims, no one is left with innards intact.

Daddy want some?
The director, John Fawcett refused to use CGI much to the benefit of the movie. Like Dog Soldiers (a British werewolf film) the presence of ‘real’ gore adds to the visceral tone with the added bonus of being utterly disgusting to boot.

Verdict

@thezoverlord verdict – 9 dismembered pooches out of 10 – The female of the species IS more deadly than the male…

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