I have a daughter who will be going through puberty one day, oy vey!
Written By: Karen Walton
Directed By: John Fawcett
Hidden deep in the underbelly of cheap production values, bad looking gore, far too much dog violence, and some dicey acting resides a halfway decent film. It sucks that so much of the film is wasted on elements that simply never work or never matter. The character of the dad is a great example, as for all intents and purposes his character shouldn’t have even been in the film. I get what the film is saying about men, and their general lack of necessity in a female world. However, having the father character in only a couple of scenes where he does nothing but throw his hands up in the air and shrug his shoulders at the women round him only serves to lessen the female centric theme of Ginger Snaps. He’s not a derelict father or an ineffective male, he’s an ineffective character who wastes the little screen time he is given.
The cheap production values of Ginger Snaps were another rather particular problem with the film. The blood and the guts looked like something out of a high school stage play, and that’s not exactly what I’m looking for in a professionally made horror film. About the only positive to the cheap gore effects was that they did help to lessen my disgust at all the dogs being killed in the film. This is a purely subjective negative I am placing against Ginger Snaps, this one is all on me. Truth be told, the death of the dogs in Ginger Snaps served a purpose and was not malicious callousness as is so often the case in the horror genre. Still, as an avid dog lover I checked out after about the second death and didn’t care to see any of the rest that followed.
For all the problems in Ginger Snaps, and there are many, I still enjoyed the majority of the film. The lead performances are charming in a “Hey, we’re not that good at this acting stuff, but we’re really, really trying, okay?” kind of way. Mainly I dug the themes of Karen Walton’s script. It doesn’t take a genius to tie Ginger Snaps into the female rite of passage that is puberty. All the same, I enjoyed the way the film handled it’s not so subtle theme. Growing into womanhood isn’t something I’ll ever understand, but it has to be a horrific experience in a lot of ways. When the horror in Ginger Snaps is at its best is when Miss Walton’s script puts the emphasis on the horrors of being a teenage girl having to deal with burgeoning womanhood.
Ginger Snaps is by no means a terrible film, it is in its totality an admirable effort at making a different type of horror film. The pieces don’t always fall into place and the less than stellar production values do hurt the film greatly. I don’t want to warn people away from Ginger Snaps because it does offer something to think about and that’s always a horror convention that I will praise. It falters and it is never better than the sum of its parts, but Ginger Snaps is a unique horror film that makes for an interesting viewing experience.