Breaking Free

Ginger Snaps was a very interesting horror movie, working the subtlety of the fear of the unknown, or more specifically, the fear of growing up, behind the whole werewolf affair. Much like The Cabin in the Woods, there is some tongue-in-cheek humor put in Ginger Snaps, not directly at the genre of horror in film, but in the early stages of the menstruation of young women. I guess because of the humor that builds in this area, I wasn’t able to treat it too much like a horror movie, as it is a teen movie that has some scary moments.

Of the many elements of horror that I’ve experienced with the past movies, I think the fear of the unknown is still mostly at play here.  When Ginger gets bitten, of course her sister, Brigitte, is afraid of what is happening to her only friend. The physical changes aren’t the only thing that has happened, but also the fact that Ginger became more outgoing, being in touch with her hormonal instincts, and Brigitte felt alone, felt some fear that the one person she could count on to stay with her was leaving her.

There are also some hints of a feminist approach in the movie where there is female empowerment, for better or for worse. Much like Grace, the institution of family is tested, and the women are the focus for this movie as well. We see as well some sort of repression on the side of Ginger. Both of them since the start of the movie, are seen as the brooding, dark, sisters and their school doesn’t really do much to change them, and their classmates of course treat them differently, and at first we see them repressing their aggression, their hatred for the jocks, the popular girls, but when the change occurs in Ginger, those repressed emotions come blurting out. It could be a metaphor for bullying, or for those who are treated differently and they just seem to bury their pain deep within them until they can’t contain it anymore, with the werewolf just being a symbol for breaking free. We see a lot of instances in the news with these troubled people who just reach their breaking points and in the end, hurt other people because of it. School shootings, and closer to home, the shooting in Kawit, Cavite.

With Ginger’s rampage in the end, we see some sadness as she is confronted by Brigitte. At the start of the movie when they have pictures of themselves dying in different ways, and promising each other that they will go together whatever happens. When Brigitte had to kill her sister, we saw her pain, that she would have to leave her, that she would have to go on this world alone. We also saw some bravery, because as we discussed, there are some psychological effects after something as traumatic as what she experienced, death everywhere, even the death of her werewolf sister, the fact that even a werewolf actually exists, that is something scary to face for Brigitte, so to choose to live and face those consequences alone, was her standing up for herself, showing courage even if what lies ahead may be tragic and have some lingering fear; that, I think, is Brigitte’s transformation.


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