It’s a cinch to connect the hairy howling of adolescence with the legend of lycanthropes — hence I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. But it’s a bit of genius to connect werewolfishness to the condition of teenage girls aroused by the onset of menstruation. In Ginger Snaps, a ferocious, funny, gory, and astute Canadian horror parable, the bloody fate of womanhood that befalls death-obsessed, late-blooming, Goth-style Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) coincides with a full moon and an attack by the same beast that has been killing all the local dogs in the girl’s boring suburban neighborhood. Soon Ginger is sprouting strange hairs, growing a tail, and coursing with violent hungers, all of which horrify her younger, plainer sister Brigitte (Emily Perkins, sulking nicely), who sets about looking for a cure for Ginger’s infection with the help of a pot-dealing friend (Kris Lemche).
Meanwhile, Mom, played with fine, nutty oblivion by Mimi Rogers, remains clueless, which is only right: Although Karen Walton’s script gives way to more conventional Halloween horror, director John Fawcett bears in mind the snarky attitude of Clueless, not to mention the genre-bending wit of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Find this bracing, original little movie where you can: It deserves a cult following among satire-loving, feminist-minded gore aficionados who appreciate a well-made human tail.