Written by Karen Walton, John Fawcett
Directed by John Fawcett
When Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) is bitten by a werewolf and begins changing, it is up to her sister Brigette (Emily Perkins) and a local drug dealer to attempt to save her.
Ginger Snaps is one of those horror films that is almost perfect in every way. From the casting of Emily Perkins (It) and Katherine Isabelle (American Mary, Freddy vs. Jason) as sisters to the confident direction of John Fawcett (Orphan Black), this is a film that should not only be watched, but admired for every fan of the horror genre. In fact, if you consider yourself a horror fan and haven’t seen this film, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Ginger and Bridgette Fitzgerald are death obsessed sisters who are the outcasts in their high school. One night, while trying to steal a rival high school girls dog, Ginger is attacked by something. They escape the creature and the creature is hit and killed by the local drug dealer, Sam (Kris Lemche). It turns out that the creature was a werewolf and Ginger begins to slowly change; at first her demeanor and attitude and, eventually, her appearance. The changes occur over the month to culminate at a Halloween party on a full moon. As Ginger changes, Bridgette enlists the help of Sam to find a cure for her sisters werewolf-ism. The film is a heavy handed metaphor for a young woman reaching puberty, just with werewolves and death.
This has been one of my favorite horror films for at least 10 years. I remember hearing about it when it released in Canada and, of course, it never actually released theatrically in the US. As soon as the DVD was initially released, I snapped it up and have watched the film approximately 15-20 times, the last time being more than 5 years ago; long enough that I remembered very little of the film. Re-watching this Blu-Ray version, I once again fell in love with the movie. It is a fabulous horror film that deserves to be seen. It deserves to be seen in this Blu-Ray package, that has been released through Scream Factory, the Criterion of horror films.
Typically in my reviews, I strictly review the film and do not cover special features, picture quality, sound, etc. I tend to stick to the film itself, unless there is some glaring error in the presentation of the film (watch for my The Monster Squad review later this month for more). This set demands that I discuss the presentation itself.
The Blu-Ray comes in a traditional, blue Blu-Ray case with a cardboard slipcover. When you open the Blu-Ray, you find that the cover insert is double-sided, one side featuring the new artwork created by Scream Factory for this release, the other side featuring the original artwork for the film. This is par for the course for this company’s releases. The new artwork, seen in the photo above, is lovely and I much prefer it to the original artwork. Once you pop the disc in, you will see that they have lovingly restored the film and it looks better than it ever has. While there are a few issues here and there, especially in the darker scenes where it seems this was filmed on early digital, on the whole this looks like a new film. The sound is also a True HD 5.1 mix that makes generous use of your rear speakers. That is just the film. Then you have a plethora of bonus features.
The special features are also very nice. You have an hour long documentary on the inception and making of the film featuring director John Fawcett, writer Karen Walton, and Emily Perkins. Notably absent from this whole package, though, is Katherine Isabelle, which makes one wonder about the working conditions on this film, despite her starring in the sequels (which are not discussed at all). There is also a feature with female movie critics discussing female puberty in film. Then there are commentaries and deleted scenes, with or without commentary by John Fawcett, trailers, and still galleries. There is a lot to dig through on the special features end, and any fan of this film will love these. I don’t usually watch special features unless I absolutely love the film. I poured through all of these (minus the commentary tracks) and loved it. The commentary tracks will be watched in the near future.
Ginger Snaps has been one of my favorite horror films for years. This loving restoration made me fall in love with the film all over again. Despite the premium price for this Blu-Ray, any fan of the film needs to own this. Even if you still have the old DVD release of the film, do yourself a favor and upgrade. It would be worth the premium price just for the transfer of the film, but when you add in the bonus features, you really are getting a deal.
***1/2 out of ****
BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!
- From IMDB: Along with the irony of stars Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins auditioning on the same day the two actresses were also born in the same hospital, attended the same pre-school, elementary school, and private school, and worked through the same talent agency.
- Katherine Isabelle plays Ginger and is the older of the two sisters in the film. In reality, Emily Perkins is 5 years older than Isabelle.
- Emily Perkin’s hair in the film is a wig, she having just shaved her head prior to casting.
- From IMDB: Among the students paged over the school’s PA system by an uncredited Lucy Lawless are Samuel and Theodore Raimi. Ted Raimi is Lawless’ co-star on Xena: Warrior Princess(1995); Ted’s brother Sam Raimi is the show’s executive producer.