Ginger Snaps: Menstruation, Sisterly Love, and Werewolves
This movie has been floating around in the back of my head as a film I should see for a long while. The story of two teenage Canadian sisters dealing with an unfortunate case of lycanthropy that befalls one of them, "Ginger Snaps" is a good mix of charming, disgusting, and weird that really keeps you involved as you watch it.
Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald (Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle) are two strange death-obsessed girls who have self-segregated themselves from the high school life around them. Resolved to either run away or kill themselves by the time they turn 16, they amuse themselves taking pictures of each other pretending to be dead in various gruesome ways.
All of this changes one night when an ill-advised trip to a playground near the woods leads to Ginger getting mauled by a monstrous creature which had been killing neighborhood dogs. The creature in turn was hit by a van driven by Sam (Kris Lemche), the local drug dealer, killing it. However, Ginger's body and personality start to change, and it's up to Brigitte and Sam to figure out how to cure Ginger before she transforms completely into a werewolf.
One of the most interesting things about the movie is that both Brigitte and Sam, taking the rather incredible evidence before them, immediately come to the conclusion that Ginger is becoming a werewolf, even as Ginger herself is initially skeptical. This deviation from the typical monster movie plot is fairly minor, but something about it makes all of the rest of the story seem fresh and new. Werewolves in this story also are not people who change back and forth between wolf and human forms, but instead people who become increasingly animalistic and uncontrollably violent, while their bodies become ever more horrifically inhuman. Ginger develops fangs, claws, a tail, and starts to grow hair all over her body, all while becoming increasingly aggressive and less caring about her sister, formerly the only person she cared about.
This makes Brigitte herself a lot more sympathetic a character than she probably would be normally. Brigitte is incredibly socially awkward, keenly aware that she is not as pretty as her sister, and Ginger seems to be the only person she actually likes in the world. Ginger becoming increasingly uncontrollable terrifies her, and this makes her sympathetic as she and Sam try to figure out a cure, even as Ginger shifts from a girl overcome with murderous urges to a genuine and quite terrifying monster.
This movie is not for those who are squeamish. There is a lot of blood and mutilated bodies (both dogs and humans), and Ginger's shifting body grows increasingly more disgusting and disturbing. The story pulls very few punches when it comes to gore, and it makes you squirm, but in a good way.
This movie apparently has two sequels, and I was intrigued enough by this one that I'll definitely check them out. All in all, this was an intense but interesting take on the werewolf movie genre, and the character of Brigitte struggling to save her sister before Ginger becomes a full-on monster is fascinating enough to warrant a viewing. If you're a fan of horror this will probably be up your alley.
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