Directed by John Fawcett, starring Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche and Mimi Rogers.

The opening credits for 'Ginger Snaps' are a collage of death scenes: a nymph-like girl is impaled on a fence, a ghostly figure is steeped in a bath, and a girl in a leg-brace appears to have broken her neck falling down a staircase. This is our introduction to the Fitzgerald sisters, a fey, withdrawn narcissistic duo. Classic outsiders, they have no other friends, obsess about death and show almost as much revulsion for their classmates as they do for the sleepy town of Bailey Downs they inhabit.

Counteracting small-town tedium with arranging fake (but very vivid) death scenes for school projects, theirs is something of a 'Heavenly Creatures' relationship. On the night that older sibling Ginger (Isabelle) gets her first period, she is attacked by the mysterious creature that has been stalking the neighbourhood, killing pets and injuring people. Endeavouring to forget the attack, Brigitte (Perkins) soon realises that something's not quite right with her sis. Not only does she start sprouting grey chest hair, a tail and develop insatiable blood lust, her cravings for the opposite sex become, well, animal. Brigitte is befriended by local bad-boy pot-dealer Sam (Lemche), together they must try and save Ginger before it's too late.

While Isabelle and Perkins are formidable as the haunted, hunted sisters with the acerbic tongues, the film would have benefited from a dollop more levity. The pair capture the isolation of adolescence with a visceral honesty, but stereotypes intrude on what could have been a sensitive portrayal of teen-hood with a touch of horror. The unsuspecting textbook parents never hear Ginger's projectile blood-vomiting (Rogers is great as the all-American mom) and while the end is not predictable, many gaps are left in the story. Obviously geared at a particular market, this above-average blood 'n' eyeliner horror will enthrall every black-clad Goth kid in town.

Sinéad Gleeson