Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Furry Ladies: Ginger Snaps

It's hard to break out and really impress people in today's horror market.  The market is so saturated with big budget films, as well as numerous low-budget ones.  Everyone with a camera, some food coloring and some friends can make a horror film.  Let's flashback to ten years ago when a little Canadian horror film managed to do just that.  It didn't have a lot of money.  It didn't really have any stars per say.  What it had, however, was a unique concept and some effective, low-fi effects.  It tells the tale of two sisters (not to be confused with A Tale of Two Sisters) who run across a monster and it effects their lives pretty adversely.  The tale got a lot of attention for making a not-so-subtle parallel between the transformation into a monster and the transformation into a young woman.  By the way, this is not a tale that is exactly aimed for a male market.  Even so, can a stud like me get some enjoyment out of this soon-to-be cult classic?  Find out in my hairy review of...
The film begins by introducing us to our heroines- a pair of sad, mopey girls.  They're the kind of girls that wear full coats and boots when the other kids are wearing shorts...which actually happens.  Either they're the only smart ones in the school or they exist in a parallel dimension located on Hoth.  During the credits, we see our heroines doing their art project, which involves posing themselves in different scenarios of death.  Oh, so you're the kids from my High School that actually owned Faces of Death!  At school, the girls don't fit in, since Ginger is a shy bitch, while Bridgette (the younger one) just always looks like someone is holding dog poo right under her nose.  Things get worse when the popular kids pick on them during a game of field hockey.  By the way, if you doubt that this is really a Canadian film, they freaking play field hockey!  The girls' neighborhood is also experiencing a weird rash of dogs being killed around the neighborhood.  Our heroines discover a fresh kill and plan to take it when a P.O.V. monster drags Ginger off.  The sister runs after her, while the sister continues to get mauled in some awkwardly-edited sequences.  Bridgette finally catches up to the monster tearing into her sister and...awkwardly stares at the scene.  Thanks, honey!  The pair finally break away and run, escaping only when a truck driven by the creepy guy from Final Destination 3 hits the werewolf.  Okay then.
In the aftermath of this event, things are a bit weird in the house and at school.  Ginger- being the older sister- has begun to enter menstruation, which is actually a theory offered up by Bridgette for why the beast attacked her.  Why did it really attack her?  Um, they never say- get used to that in the series!  Ginger begins to go through some changes that don't relate to the horrible curse of becoming a woman (aren't I caring?).  These include her wounds mysteriously healing and growing hair in certain places that she shouldn't.  I suppose it's a weird thing that blond hairs are growing out of her cut marks, huh?  At school, Final Destination 3 guy follows Bridgette around trying to talk to her about what happened.  Naturally, she just sulks and walks around with that stink-face look.  You have to try to be this awkward and goth!  This gets the ire of the lead, blond bitch at school, so she picks a fight with Bridgette during a field hockey game...again.  Is this movie revolving around itself now?  This time, Ginger gets a little more assertive and takes it to the girl.  Speaking of being assertive, she also gets pretty aggressive when it comes to the lady's boyfriend.  In driving terms, her libido goes from 0 to 60,000!  Between these spurts, however, some awkward stuff comes up too.  How can I ignore the scene where the completely naive guidance counselor gives the girls condoms and assures them that everything is normal?  I can't- that's how.
Things get even worse as Ginger gets the one thing that no girl wants: a tail.  The movie continues to try and keep things serious though, so I will too.  Ha ha- you've got a tail.  Anyhow, the personality and physical changes keep coming and never slow down.  At  certain point, Bridgette realizes that she needs to cure her sister, so she joins forces with the creepy guy.  They end up discovering that wolfsbane could be a cure for the disease, which is good when you consider that Ginger has turned the boyfriend from earlier into a lycanthrope too.  In the big showdown, they stab him with a needle full of the diluted plant and...he wanders off like he doesn't know where he is.  This is actually a key plot point for the sequel, so remember this.  Things get bad again when the blond bitch threatens our heroines in their home and ends up being shot.  The one benefit to doing a project where you pretend to die- it's easy to pass off dead bodies as art!  Try it, kids at home!  Ginger proves elusive and aggressive, choosing to kill the school's Japanese janitor for supposedly looking at her too much.  Her transformation eventually turns her into Stirba from The Howling II.  Bridgette lures her away from a costume party, but ends up trapped in a house with her and the creepy guy.  Armed with a needle full of the cure, our heroine fails to save the guy, but eventually...stabs her fully-transformed sister with a knife.  Um, okay.  The End.
Is this movie as good as its long history of indy hype has made it to be?  Well, yes and no.  For me, I didn't connect with the characters as much as I was supposed to.  Mind you, there is a gender issue here and I fully understand that.  Ultimately though, I thought that neither of the girls was all that likable to begin with, so I didn't care a great deal for their traumas.  As far as the parallels between menstruation and lycanthropy, they were much more direct than I thought they would be.  It's not really a parable if you tell me how they're alike every ten minutes!  On the positive side of things, the acting conveys most of the emotions and tones of the story well, even if some of the people are pretty stock here.  It's clearly more of a star-making performance for the actress playing Ginger than the one playing Bridgette.  Don't worry- she gets her try soon enough.  The make-up effects are actually quite good here and the lycanthrope effects that appear on camera work well enough.  So, let's summarize: a lot of hype, a blunt narrative and a well-put together production.  It's never going to replace An American Werewolf in London or The Howling, but it's worth a rental to any werewolf fan who still hasn't seen it.  Enjoy some tail, dear readers.
Next up, we get a sequel to the film.  Will it surprise people and actually not suck?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. GINGER SNAPS is one of the most brilliantly scripted and original Horror films out of the last decade as far as I am concerned, I love Bridgette and Ginger, and find it to be as hilarious as it is dark and thoughtful. An absolute winner in my book homeslice!