Ginger Snaps (2000)

ginger snaps posterI think I appreciate this movie the older I get. When it came out, I was the exact age of the two sisters in the film- around 15 or 16 years old. I watched it a few years later, liked it more, and now again in my late twenties, with a true appreciation of what this film is trying to accomplish.  This is a campy coming-of-age tale about puberty, teen angst, and the unbreakable bond between two sisters.

The Fitzgerald sisters (Ginger, 16 and Brigitte, 15) are edgy, slightly gothic, outcasts with a fascination for death and suicide. They believe that suicide is the ultimate “fuck you” to society so they make a pact to end it all together. They stage different suicides that are “so them” and present these photographs in class, which doesn’t help their already weird and twisted reputation. Ginger, who has red hair naturally, has a little more edge and confidence than Brigitte. If you have siblings, you understand the bond of sisterhood. And if you don’t, it’s obvious these girls are joined at the hip and would do anything for each other.

ginger snapsThey live in the sleepy and wholesome town of Bailey Downs, with an average father and a vanilla mother. Ginger and Brigitte would rather die than go average. But low and behold, Ginger does the most average thing possible and starts the curse of menstruation. A wolf, which has been interrupting the town by killing off family pets, smells Ginger’s blood on a full moon and she is attacked. Changes begin happening to Ginger- and we aren’t just talking about cramps and PMS. There is too much blood and hair is sprouting from her chest. Hormones are a bitch! This creates a divide between the girls. Ginger starts doing things she has never done before- doing drugs and hooking up with boys. Ginger is growing up and Brigitte doesn’t understand. Brigitte reluctantly teams up with Greg to figure out what the hell is going on.

ginger_snapsGinger’s transformation- into a sexier, more confident woman… oh, and dawning a new spinal tail- starts gaining unwanted attention. Things start unraveling and people start dying. Ginger’s ravenous sexual appetite is not for sex, but to tear everything in sight to pieces. Brigitte and Greg must find an antidote before it is too late, maybe even with a surprise helping hand from cookie-cutter mom. Ginger’s physical changes, along with other special effects, are definitely mediocre, but it doesn’t deter from the commendable plot and smart dialogue. Actually, these effects seem to give it that campy quality that I love. So I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

I love the idea of blossoming into womanhood being synonymous with turning into a wolf. It’s a clever update to the traditional werewolf tale merged with campy, teen-scream-ness.  It’s a winner in my book and a good movie to revisit every few years for some likable, dark-humor fun.

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Ginger Snaps (2000) on IMDb

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