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Oh no, not the Curse!

November 2nd, 2007     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

Remember those books, classes and films you had to experience as a kid that explained how your body was soon going to be undergoing some “changes”? How you’d be growing hair in new places, getting flesh where no flesh was before, and feeling “special” feelings you’d never experienced? Oh, and let’s not forget the matter of the blood. All in the name of becoming a woman - if you didn’t know any better, it would sound like a horror movie.

Ginger Snaps is a curious, quirky horror flick that deals with exactly that - how puberty is, in fact, like becoming a werewolf. The film follows Ginger and Brigitte, two outcast, goth-y sisters who are more interested in taking gory photos of each other in death poses than shopping, looking cute, or hooking up with boys. Although they’re 15 and 16, they seem to exist in a state of permanent pre-pubescence - a very snarly, sarcastic pre-pubescence, where they equate “becoming women” with turning into brainless hormone-puddles who’d do anything for a date with some pimply knuckle-dragger on the football team, and thus they swear to each other never to become the sexy, mindless examples of womanhood they see all around them.

Ginger Snaps is another in a long line of horror movies where the terror begins with a young woman getting her period for the first time. Carrie, the Stephen King novel that became a movie starring Sissy Spacek, works on similar lines, with the title character aquiring telekinetic powers as soon as she’s, uh, visited by Aunt Flo. I happened to be reading Carrie at the same time that I saw this movie, and I started to feel like the whole world was freaking out over periods. But Ginger Snaps is interesting because it makes no bones about playing on cultural anxieties surrounding womanhood, and it makes some fascinating (and funny) links between puberty and, well, turning into a werewolf.

I won’t spoil the movie by going into plot details too much, but I can tell you that it’s a complex, character-driven horror movie where women do something other than get killed in the first five minutes. The relationship between the two sisters is also really nicely sketched out, and doubtless you’ll be able to relate to both shy, introverted, protective Brigitte and smart, lippy, morbid Ginger. The special effects leave something to be desired - this is no Waterworld (thank heaven), but the characters and story more than make up for it. Definitely recommended for a post-Halloween movie night.

Tags: film fridays, film reel

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