The film Ginger Snaps is relatively old Werewolf movie (2000) that I might have missed out on (Bad Moon, Dog Soldiers, An American Werewolf in London) probably because it was produced independently. As such, I did not know what to expect coming into the movie. It starts off with introducing two adolescent sisters Bridgette and Ginger with particularly weird interests, fascinated with taking pictures of their own setup “fake” deaths. Later on, Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf and her slow animalistic transformation into a lycanthrope begins as Bridgette tries desperately to stop her sister’s transformation.
The film is notably abundant in dark humor particularly in the scene wherein Ginger distracts her mother just enough for her to not notice Trina’s body in the freezer, a fellow classmate whom they had accidentally killed earlier and whose dog they had previously kidnapped. A couple of darkly funny scenes too include Trina’s frozen fingers found in the lawn by the mother (which is put in a plastic lunchbox thinking it as one their props for the “death project”), Ginger trying to conceal her tail, and the wolf-boy who walks up going to class right after being injected with syringe in his neck. However the film is ultimately a tragedy as both sisters are slowly torn apart by these series of events. Towards the end, Bridgette finds a monkshood cure yet still fails to stop her sister’s killing spree and ends up killing her instead in the final showdown. For these factors I find the film really enjoyable since it was not that heavy, the plot was very engrossing and there were quite a good number of scares. I also liked the fact that most of the “horror” does not show the werewolf clearly mutilating the victim on the screen. Instead it is left to the imagination of the viewer. The camera is shaky, we are not shown fully of the attack and mostly only grisly sounds are heard. This leaves an effective scare for me because we are left only to ponder what really happens, as opposed to scares that derive its power from its shock value and gore.
What I also like is the fact that the character of Ginger is a girl. Werewolf movies I’ve watched often portray men as victims of such transformations. And the main protagonist is usually tormented by the fact that he is slowly turning into a monster. This conflict of hiding his change to everyone familiar to him arises: will he fight to stay human or will he give in to his animalistic urges, which grows stronger by the minute. So for one, it was refreshing to see a teenage girl afflicted with the curse. The viewpoint of the adolescent experiencing puberty draws some characteristics parallel to the werewolf phenomenon (increased sexual drive, bodily transformations, etc.). Secondly, there can be observed a parallel symbolism of the werewolf transformation to the menstrual experience of girls entering puberty, something which the film capitalizes on a few scenes. All in all, Ginger Saps is a great werewolf movie.