From the haunting soundtrack to the career-making performances from the Robin Cook’s superb cast, Ginger Snaps defines what a modern horror film should be: its artfully crafted reality skirts the edge of the mundane while maintaining an edge of surrealism through progressive applications of noire, violence, and the supernatural. The movie thoroughly involves the audience in a gruesome mockery of teenage evolution. Ginger (Katharine…Isabelle) is a 16 year old high school student; her and her sister Brigitte (Emily Perkins) are two post-millennial Goths trapped in a Scissorhands-esque suburban hell. Ginger is attacked one night by some type of creature, and rapidly degenerates into a monster. Responsibility for stopping her falls on her sister and the town drug dealer as she tears a strip through her classmates.
This movie is further notable for its significance to director John Fawcett. Despite an extensive career directing TV (“Xena”), this is his second feature film attempt (after 97’s “Boy’s Club”), and will undoubtedly work towards cementing his name as an A-list director. The film clearly demonstrates the influence of TV in Fawcett’s work – scenes are subconsciously timed for commercial breaks, and camera work focuses on attention grabbing motion and action, making for a film that has a “reality TV” flavour to it. The deleted scenes commentary is a particularly illuminating look at the depth of thought that Fawcett put into the film; take a few minutes and check it out.
Unfortunately for our American readers, this DVD is an exclusively Canadian release. Search Amazon.com, and you’ll only find the anemic U.S. release with no extras, The DVD is a fantastic combination of audio, video, content, and extras, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all connoisseurs of the horror genre.
The Canadian origins of this film are evident in its soundtrack: both French and English well-mastered 5.1 soundtracks are available. The audio quality is average without standing out in any way, either good or bad.
Blacks are deep and clear and dust, dirt, etc. are completely absent. There’s absolutely no granulation at any light levels. Colours seem to be washed out at times, and certain scenes seem to be shot with sepia toned filters (i.e.: the second field hockey scene). In certain cases (the aforementioned hockey scene), it is clearly an artistic affectation, in others it harder to tell if it is intentional, the result of inexperienced film crews, or rushed production.
The menus on this DVD are excellent, befitting this disc’s collector’s edition status. Transitions are fast, consistent (among themselves and with the film), stutter free, and artistic.
Fans of the film will particularly appreciate the volume and the quality of the extras. Try watching the cast auditions before the film – the effect is eerie, as Emily Perkins in particular seems to have been born for the role of Brigitte. As mentioned earlier, the various commentary options add great insights from the director and screenwriter, particular in the deleted scenes. The featurette is fluffy filler, but the “Creation of the Beast” documentary is a worthwhile behind the scenes sfx exposé.
The draw of this disc isn’t presentation, its content – a refreshing departure from so many recent releases. “Ginger Snaps” is a stylish and disturbing horror movie that doubles as an ironic commentary on adolescence. The cast, crew, writer, and director are to be applauded for taking a beaten over premise and updating it in a manner that is both horrifying and compelling.
Special Features List
- Director’s commentary
- Writer’s commentary
- Deleted scenes
- Cast auditions
- “Creation of the Beast” documentary
- Trailers and TV spots
- Cast and crew bios
- Production artwork