Breaking away from the stultifying mass of formulaic teenage-horror films, Ginger Snaps is a darkly subversive werewolf movie with a vicious sense of humor and an unapologetic frankness about youthful hungers.
Ginger Snaps tells the story of the Fitzgerald sisters (Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle), two disaffected teenagers who radiate stagey, shallow morbidity. Even their longstanding death pact bores them silly. Their mother (played with pitch-perfect determined cheer by Mimi Rogers) watches them with hysterically repressed anxiety, hoping that her daughters will grow up into perfectly normal darlings. Spoiler alert: they won’t.
The film cleverly uses lycanthropy as a complex metaphor for the many transformations that come with puberty — not only the bodily metamorphosis, the shapeshifting and hairiness and bleeding, but also the unrelenting insistence of the body’s appetites. Perkins and Isabelle handle their roles with the aplomb of accomplished actors; they manage to earn our empathy without betraying the deeply bitter and unpleasant characters of Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald, who (with the ardor of bored teenagers everywhere) would rather die than be average.