Synopsis: Two outcast sisters have to deal with the pressures of high school, puberty, and lycanthropes.
In case the wage gap, catcalling, and sexual assaults weren’t enough to remind me that being born a man is the closest thing to winning the lottery I’ll ever experience, Ginger Snaps is a gentle reminder that girls and women have it pretty rough, even without werewolves running around.
Ginger Snaps is a not too subtle metaphor on the pains of growing up; specifically, it’s the allegorical telling of a girl’s transition into a young woman. A young woman, I might add, that has a taste for flesh. It’s not accident that Ginger starts to show signs of becoming a werewolf around the same time she experiences her first period. It’s a clever parallel that the film addresses and one that works perfectly. Ginger’s experiencing two kinds of changes to her body: both the biological transformation into her child-bearing years as well as the effects of a violent werewolf attack that may as well be a rape scene.
The new status as a lycanthrope awakens Ginger’s sexuality (or maybe it’s just a coincidence), and she quickly transforms from the reserved girl with a bad attitude into a sexualized woman on the prowl (pun intended). It’s this play on real world and horror world transformations that are at the heart of this film and it makes this film work on so many levels.
This will be the second film that I compare to Jennifer’s Body so far this October, and I think the comparison is apt. Both films are centered on a childhood friendship between two high school girls that drift apart when one of them undergoes a dramatic change. Obviously, Ginger Snaps predates Jennifer’s Body by nearly a decade, but the theme of puberty disguised as a horrible transformation is right on point, while at the same time, ridiculously hyperbolic.
Ginger Snaps is a werewolf flick, so there’s plenty of blood and guts. It actually achieves it in a relatively understated way through most of the film, which keeps the film from getting a little too out-of-hand.
Gore Rating: 3 out of 5
Personally, I don’t find werewolves all that frightening, but the body transformation in the finale is pretty terrifying. It’s tough to watch Ginger basically get ripped apart from the inside out and the effects are done pretty well for the budget. At the very least, this movie made me glad I never had to be a teenage girl.
Scare Rating: 3 out of 5
This movie is kind of the antithesis of exploitation, so there’s no nudity. Katharine Isabelle (who made a name for herself as a scream queen after this movie) goes through a transformation akin to teen movies like She’s All That, going from drab to a sexpot, but that’s about it.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 1 out of 5
So far, Ginger Snaps is the best movie I’ve watched this October for 31 Days of Horror. It’s a quick, tight story, and the added metaphor for growing up makes everything that much better. The lead actresses give perfect performances and the chemistry between Bridget and Ginger is one of the strongest aspects of the entire movie. For a little movie from Canada, this one exceeds all expectations.