It’s Complicated

The movie title itself already reveals a lot about the movie: Ginger Snaps. While I do not see anything much relating the title to the famous mouth watering cookie that shares its name, Ginger Snaps shows to us how the main character, Ginger, metaphorically snaps between being a child and a teen, from being normal and abnormal, and from being a human and an animal.

On one hand, Ginger Snaps looks like a typical horror movie but on the other it seems to tackle deeper issues in life, particularly of puberty and coming of age. Set in a typical western neighbourhood, the movie portrays the lives of two teenaged sisters, Ginger and Briggite Fitzgerald, as they deal with the issues on puberty, particularly menstruation, and familial love. However, as Ginger first undergoes this physical and psychological change to adulthood, she is unexpectedly bitten by a werewolf that slowly transforms her into a ravage beast while Briggite does whatever she can to help salvage her sister.

With the interplay of drugs, sex, alcohol, and teenage attraction, the movie can be likened to a coming-of-age film, except that it is of course set in the context of horror. Ginger and Briggite both start as two excluded gothic teenagers who are fonder of talking about death and suicide rather than socializing in school. However, inasmuch as Ginger is the one too hesitant of growing up and entering puberty, she eventually falls into it and has her world turn upside down: from being the gothic and introverted to the sexually promiscuous and aggressive.

The werewolf plot, while making the film horrifying, actually stands as a symbol for the coming-of-age of girls, particularly of Ginger in the film. While I only have very few ideas of this process, I guess the movie tells us how girls metaphorically transform into werewolves when they enter this stage. This means that they do not only physically change, but also psychologically as well to the point that a sudden turnaround of the personality is seen just like how Ginger suddenly transforms into a werewolf. It can also signify the pain that girls go through, especially knowing how they change when they “PMS” (popularly known as Pissed at Men) and become easily irritated at random things, especially at men.

Transcending this, however, are the deeper issues between Ginger and Briggite. Seeing how similar and introverted those two were, limiting themselves only within their circle, it is quite difficult for Briggite to see her sister go through the chain of events that would eventually lead to the two to separate. However, in the end, we see the emotional battle that Briggite faces to choose between the good of the “self” and the “other” as she declines to join Ginger. While she clearly knows the deep bond that she shares with her sister, we eventually see how Briggite realizes the importance of herself, that she is not merely just a shadow of her sister and has her own freedom and personality.

Looking at the perspective of Ginger, meanwhile, it is evident how she felt betrayed when Briggite, who she trusts the most, locked her up inside the comfort room. While seeing her as an enemy and competition, the movie shows to us how Ginger sees Briggite and herself as merely one single bond or one whole entity, which explains to us why she becomes overprotective of Briggite at times and turns angry when Briggitte does not want to follow her steps or instructions.

While the movie is really just a typical horror film metaphors and symbolisms aside, it still carries with it certain practices and occurrences like puberty and coming of age for girls, things that are not usually openly talked about especially within the family. How horrifying the movie portrays it to be, there is still a truth at how we, particularly men, need to understand the complexity of girls. Moreover, it also portrays how a girl becomes a paradox of conflicting forces: a sister and a rival, reserved and an animal, and even emotional and rigid. It just shows, quoting Stephen Hawking answer on what baffles him the most, how “women (no offense) are a complete mystery”. 🙂



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