One of the iconic horror monsters is the werewolf. Half-man, half-wolf. The moon becomes a signature symbol for the terror which it wreaks as it serves as a catalyst for the transformation from man to beast. Multitudes and varieties of versions of werewolves have been spawned since its introduction into popular culture and “Ginger Snaps” is one of those.
The opening altercations in gingersnaps reminds me of the old European story of wolves stalking the countryside which was dubbed the Beast of Gevaudan and was made into a feature film called the “Brotherhood of the Wolf”. Both “Ginger Snaps” and the film feature a wolf-like creature which prowls the night and snatches its victims. Both also target women, in the case of “Ginger Snaps”, only Ginger gets snagged by the beast. Though throughout the film it deviates further away from the similarities with the Beast of Gevaudan.
As we soon find out the beast of Bailey Downs was actually a Lycantrophe/Werewolf and the bite turns Ginger slowly into a werewolf. The entire film focuses on Ginger’s changes in behavior and looks and Briggete’s futile attempts in preventing the complete transformation of her beloved sister. By the end of the movie we are left to wonder what happens next to the remainder of the Fitzgerald family.
As a werewolf movie, “Ginger Snaps” follows quite a bit of the famous lore of the werewolf involves the use of silver. Also playing a bit on the herb they used, monkshood is also known as wolf’s bane which a wolf’s cause of death. Though they fall short quite a bit with the whole full moon thing and the werewolf being a completely normal person without the transformation. That cast aside, the horror in Ginger Snaps stems from its portrayal of a rift between sisters during a phase in their lives. The rift is immensely exaggerated in the film in the form of the radical transformation of Ginger into a very unfamiliar creature than who Briggite once cherished. An anomaly in a person’s perception of things one considers familiar can be quite disturbing. As Briggite sees the increasing peculiarity and abnormality, she gets appalled by the changes that start to manifest. Briggite summons all her wits and strength in order to put things back to the way she once knew Ginger amidst all the things that have gone, all because of a great bond which she has once established with her sister.
In the end, the film falls short as a classic portrayal of werewolf horror but pays back in the portrayal of how siblings have that rift in a phase of their life.
P.S. American Werewolf in London still has the greatest werewolf transformation ever.