Ginger Snaps was a lighter-hearted experience that mixed a lot of humor in and between its scares. Between those scenes the movie spoke tackled a lot about a subtle kind of scare that normally we reserve for other genres and their tropes, the kind that involves society and individual insecurities. In this manner it’s clear in some parts where the dialogue seems to be directing itself in the direction of allegory.
It was interesting how the movie played with the juxtaposed ideas of lycanthropy and of puberty because it’s a novel way of looking at natural biological processes and the unnatural. it plays out the werewolf element as analogous to the idea of physiological and the psychological transformation that plays out between teenagers. If you think about it, the foundation of the fear the characters experience is that the bodily changes experienced by young teenagers. It plays on that idea that at some point in our lives our own physiological changes have mystified us to a point that we don’t know whether our changes are normal.
The way the movie presents itself, it lends a hand to that idea that, apart from the physical, the human psyche is also capable of monstrous transformation. Stephen King once said, “Ghosts and Monsters are real. They live inside us. And sometimes they win.” It played with the ideas of social exclusion, acceptance and pretty much a host of other social and personal issues. The movie depicted a deepening rift between Brigette and Ginger, the two sisters, but not only resulting from the incomprehensible nature surrounding Ginger’s turning into a werewolf but also from the difference in the social spheres they were headed.
The movie put that conflict into a strange dynamic. Brigette felt that her sister’s turn was a form of Ginger turning her back on a way of life that they’d thought was ideal. In turn, Ginger was also feeling that her sister was turn her back on their ‘sisterhood’ by wanting to stay ‘normal’ in spite of the fact that Ginger was in no position to be able to turn her back on her new lifestyle that was imposed onto her without her choosing (puberty and her turning). The fear of being alone both physically and psychologically is a very potent source of fear on the social level. As social beings the idea of isolation leads many into the classic idea of grappling with yourself in a room full of your own ghosts but the alienation, rendering that feeling of being alone in a social environment, is something else entirely because in those kinds of moments you feel like maybe you’re the ghost, the aberration, the oddity, and it’s you that ends up posing the biggest scare.
The idea of the werewolf as a monster and allegory for a facet of humanity isn’t anything new. Clinically, things like werewolves have stood for not only the vices but also for the powerful carnal urges that humanity carries within it. The fact itself that the werewolf exists, like in the movie, as an identity stemming from the loss of a sense of self or something else superseding it shows the thing we fear in the werewolf is it, classically, is that taking away of the capacity to choose, affect, and lead our lives in the directions we want.