The Ginger Snaps Trilogy

In DVD/Blu-ray by Alex Moss Editor

At nearly 25 years old Ginger Snaps was arguably ahead of its time but feels all the more pressing in the modern era. A feminist coming of age story that plays out like Carrie but with a late ‘90s, full on grunge aesthetic.  So it is with great delight it’s getting the, as expected brilliant, Second Sight treatment with not just all the bells and whistles you’d expect of the original Ginger Snaps but as part of a trilogy box set that includes Ginger Snaps, Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning.

Ginger Snaps follows sisters Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) and Bridgette (Emily Perkins) who prefer each other’s company to the popular cliques around their high school. When Ginger is attacked one night she begins to go through, ‘the change’. But while this change is monthly, and contains a large amount of blood, it’s not quite the menstrual cycle she thinks it is. With the help of Bridgette, Ginger will try to get her new form under control but when the monster wants out, there isn’t much that’s going to stop it, especially when hormones are in full flow.

Shot with an oppressive grey palette, Ginger Snaps perfectly captures the rage of being a teenager. The anger simmering away at not being an adult, not being a child and feeling like everyone is scrutinising every detail about your existence. And then you get the wish fulfilment of getting to bite back, hard.

It’s clear from the outset that Ginger Snaps was influenced by Carrie and in turn influenced Jennifer’s Body. Director John Fawcett utilises the low-budget extremely well, disorientating with dutch-angles and making use of some grimy looking Canadian locations. The special effects are practical which makes things considerably more relatable than if they were done using modern CGI. The make-up in particular for Ginger’s gradual transformation is skin-crawling icky.

But the real highlight of the first Ginger Snaps is Katherine Isabelle in the lead role. She plays the emo, death-starring girl at school you both fancied and were terrified of to perfection. Part femme fatale, part butter wouldn’t melt when she needs to be. The way her and onscreen sister Emily Perkins bounce off each other is hugely enjoyable and gives the film a much needed emotional hook to hang your ripped out heart on.

Parts 2 & 3 are both fun in themselves, sometimes furthering the story and evolving it in interesting ways but they are not at the same level as the first film and this is primarily due to Isabelle’s significantly reduced role. If there is a crime in modern cinema it’s that Isabelle did not have a career befitting this hugely enjoyable title role.

Second Sight love to pull out all the stops to make their releases the definitive for any collector and The Ginger Snaps Trilogy is no exception. All three films come with a host of extras including some brilliant commentaries, for fans of the franchise this is essential, for physical film collectors this will make a sneering addition to the collection.

A brooding, often funny slice of comedy horror, Ginger Snaps packs bite and feminist commentary with a smile-inducing middle-finger.