Freshly released on limited edition DVD and Blu-ray from Second Sight Films, the Ginger Snaps trilogy finally gets the loving re-release it deserves.
We can all agree that the greatest shark movie of all time has already been made with Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, and the countless shark-based entertainment that has come along over the last five decades has been battling it out for second place. The same can be said for many genres, but it’s also true of the werewolf sub-genre of horror. Depending on who you ask, An American Werewolf in London or The Howling has the honour of best in the show, but films like The Company of Wolves, Dog Soldiers, and Ginger Snaps all offered something wildly inventive in a well-worn genre.
Initially released in 2000, while Buffy The Vampire Slayer was at the height of its popularity, Ginger Snaps circles a similar theme of seeing the horrors of adolescence as genuine monsters. Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are sisters Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald, two high school outsiders who have a morbid fascination with death and have little in common with their peers. In fact, most of the kids at school are frightened by the sisters and believe they are responsible for a recent spat of gruesome dog killings.
On the very night that Ginger is ushered into womanhood by getting her first period, the sisters are attacked by a large creature, which is swiftly dealt with thanks to a passing van. While they survive their encounter, Ginger is bitten, but when her wounds mysteriously heal overnight, she begins a monstrous transformation as her cravings for flesh grow to deafening levels. Directed by John Fawcett and armed with a razor-sharp script by XXXX has aged beautifully, and it is so much more than just another gore-soaked horror. I mean, is it gore-soaked? I would be lying if I said no, but judging the relevance of a movie by how much fake blood is spilt should never be the metric.
Ginger Snaps Unleashed catches up with a now committed to a medical institute, Brigette. She’s doing everything she can to slow her own transformation. Her late sister appears to her as an apparition, but another werewolf in the facility is stalking her every move. The closing entry takes us back to the 19th Century and the curse’s origin with Ginger Snaps The Begining, shot back-to-back with Unleashed; both sequels can’t quite recapture the visceral highs or nuanced story of the original, but they are solid follow-ups that make for a consistent trilogy. As horror fans will know, a consistent trilogy or franchise is a challenging thing to land.
Stuffed with brilliant new special features, Ginger Snaps is filled with biting satire and sharp originality; the original was ahead of its time some 23 years ago, and it is primed to be rediscovered by a new generation.