Canada has produced a lot of excellent horror films over the years. This is a fact that nobody can really deny. Classic titles like The Changeling (1980), Black Christmas (1974), and My Bloody Valentine (1981) have undoubtedly proven themselves as fundamental additions to the genre.

The ever-growing list of Canadian-made fan favorites is as cherished as it is expansive. Personally, I like to think that we are trailblazers. A nation of mavericks who have earned a reputation for thinking outside the box. Sure, I’m willing to admit that I might be just a tad biased on the subject – but c’mon. When it comes to horror, Canada is King.

Ginger Snaps (2000) is no exception to this previous statement. It is a werewolf movie but, at the same time, it’s also so much more than that. It is an allegory for the adolescent female experience; a feminist coming-of-age story. There is just so much there. The film has been absolutely analyzed to death since it was released twenty years ago. As such, I will spare you my take on its underlying themes. To put it bluntly: I couldn’t possibly say anything about it that hasn’t been said already.

Instead, I will stick to discussing the film at face value. Hell, the merits of Ginger Snaps as a piece of cinema are noteworthy enough all on their own. So, stock up on some silver bullets and don’t forget the wolfsbane – because we’re going in.

A still image taken from the horror film Ginger Snaps (2000). It shows two young women linking hands.
Emily Perkins (left) and Katharine Isabelle (right) star in Ginger Snaps (2000)

The Making of a Monster

Director John Fawcett has worked primarily in television for the majority of his career. He didn’t have very many features to his name before he wrote and directed Ginger Snaps, but that has by no means affected the film’s overall quality. It is an awesome movie.

While it isn’t completely flawless, the pros of the picture definitely far outweigh the sparse cons. With a dynamite story, impressive special effects, and stellar acting performances, it is easy to see why Ginger Snaps has garnered such a significant cult following after its initial release.

The lion’s share of shooting for the picture was done in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario. In Brampton, Etobicoke, and Scarborough, if we’re going to be specific about it. Katharine Isabelle stars in the film as Ginger, with Emily Perkins and Kris Lemche playing the two main supporting roles.

A still image taken from the horror film Ginger Snaps (2000). It shows the snarling, bloody face of a werewolf.
Ginger, pictured after her final transformation into a werewolf

A Transformative Experience

The plot of the film is without question one of its greatest assets. It is a twisted teenage drama, with just a dash of lycanthropy added in for some extra zing. Underneath all of the murder and mayhem, though, it is really a tale of two sisters. An examination of their relationship and the struggles they face in the rocky transition from child to adult. Here is a quick synopsis for you:

Ginger and Brigette Fitzgerald are the weird girls at school. Snarky, aloof, and ferociously loyal to each other, they navigate the trials of adolescence in their own, uniquely morbid way. They live with their parents in the small, suburban community of Bailey Downs – a community that is currently under siege. Recently, some kind of mysterious animal has been attacking and killing pets in the neighborhood. Soon, it appears that their quaint little town is not a safe place to wander after sunset. The two girls ultimately have to learn this lesson the hard way when the animal mauls Ginger one night while she is out taking photos with her sister.

After surviving the attack, Ginger slowly begins to change. While her symptoms are, at first, confused with the onset of puberty – it quickly becomes apparent to Brigette that something is terribly wrong with her sibling. She is indeed going through a radical transformation in her life: but it’s not into a normal, human woman.

Ginger Snaps is a Canadian Classic

I highly recommend Ginger Snaps to anybody who is looking for an extraordinary spin on the classic ‘curse of the werewolf’ story. It is fun, clever, and oddly relatable on many different levels. As such, I present the film with a rare perfect score. It is the kind of horror movie that only comes around once in a blue moon; the exact kind of movie that you don’t want to miss out on.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

If you enjoyed Canadian Classics – Ginger Snaps (2000), please feel free to check out our other horror film reviews, here.

L.J. Lewis

Contributor

About the Author

L.J. Lewis is a freelance writer hailing from the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada. When he isn't writing, he can often be found sewing pilfered body parts together in his underground lair.

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