Directed by John Fawcett [Other horror films: The Dark (2005)]
When all is said and done, this modern-age werewolf tale is tragic. Two sisters must confront something entirely outside of their control, and though once close beyond measure, they become ripped apart by unwanted transformations (both puberty and lycanthropism).
I truly believe this is one of the saddest horror films out there, because I completely buy Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle’s relationship here, and it just hurts to see them pulled apart by something that was no fault of their own. It’s simple, but it’s effective, and though I generally find the werewolf sub-genre one of the hardest to appreciate in horror, this is a fantastic film.
Of course, a lot of it goes to the performances of Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle. Perkins, naturally, played Beverly in the 1990 adaptation of Stephen King’s It, and grew into a decently attractive young woman. She does great here as a put down upon teen, with her snarky sister, Katharine Isabelle. Isabelle does amazing too, and definitely brings another recognizable face into the mix, as she’s popped up in plenty of horror films, from Freddy vs. Jason and American Mary to Hard Ride to Hell and 13 Eerie.
Few others in the cast are near as spectacular, but that’s not something to fault them for. In different ways, many of the others here shined, including Kris Lemche, Jesse Moss (though I didn’t love his character’s story), and Mimi Rogers (especially toward the end, with a bit of a WTF line). All add a little something to the film, which is welcomed, but none come close to comparing with the leads.
By throwing in puberty and periods into the mix, Ginger Snaps feels real. Isabelle’s character is literally growing up, threatening to leave Perkins’ character behind, and this alone would make for a great sibling drama. Mix in some werewolves, very solid special effects, and an emotional conclusion, and you’re set. Very much worth watching multiple times, Ginger Snaps is a definite treat.
This is one of the films spoken about on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if you want to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this, by all means listen to the fun.