Ginger Snaps; or Andy Gets in Touch with His Feminine Side

Hello and Hallo-welcome to another Furry Friday (our last!), where we check what moon phase we are on while checking out a new film! You join your bloggers, Andy and Lilly, who will rip your lungs out, Jim–actually, enough. Hallowfest does not condone ripping out Jim’s lungs, but we do think you should check out Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London.

Today’s Film Offering: Ginger Snaps

Andy: Um, I haven’t actually watched Ginger Snaps yet.

Lilly: WHAT! Go and do that right now!

Andy: But the second season of Stranger Things has just been added to…

Lilly: Right. Now.

81OpkT54z9L._SL1500_.jpgAndy (Some time later): So, you can already tell I was going to have a chip on my shoulder with this movie. Firstly, it’s between me and the new season of the best TV of last year. Secondly, I love me some Dog Soldiers. Add in an awkward teenage girl coming of age story in which lycanthropy acts as both a metaphor for menstruation and some kind of super-syphilis, aaand I’m going to make a break for it.

Lilly: Some people apparently can’t relate to being a hormonal teenage girl who gets her period while also turning into a werewolf. Lucky them!

Andy: Still, this movie is very, very solid. The two leads – Ginger, an older sister who’s about two steps away from the WASP-y bitch she hates at school, and her extremely introverted younger sister, Brigette, are an engaging pair to spend 110 minutes with. They start the movie by having a very teenage outlook on life and death: they angst, they idolize gore, and they make a suicide pact in a way that suggests neither are suicidal, but things change when a werewolf decides to take some chunks out of Ginger’s shoulder.

Lilly: Having been an angsty teenage girl at one point, I would like to get in here early on that oh my gosh, are these two realistically written. Nothing is worse when you have a supernatural element in a film that feels more grounded and well researched than the humans that are in it, let me tell you, but Ginger Snaps avoids that. It’s almost as if the writer was a woman…Oh wait, she is, and she is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is also a writer for Orphan Black, so clearly she knows what she is doing and you should check out her work. Karen Walton.

Andy: Anyway, this movie is essentially about the sisters’ relationship as Ginger first becomes more confident and outgoing, and then starts tearing up the neighbourhood. And the neighbours. Brigitte meanwhile is forced to abandon the crutch of her sister, and deal with the problem increasingly alone. Her relationship with Sam, a local drug dealer, is fascinating. You genuinely think that this is the first friendship she’s developed independently of her sister.

Lilly: Fun side note: Sam is portrayed by Kris Lemche, who is in another Hallowfest favourite, The Frankenstein Theory. It was nice to see him being sarcastic and charming and peddling drugs to teens. Well. At least the first two bits were nice.

Plus, not only do you get the werewolf goring action, you also get the exploration of what it is like to lose a friend to puberty–and lycanthropy. It is terrifying, watching someone you care about start to lash out, act differently, and grow hair out of suspicious wounds, and this film captures it perfectly. Definitely a better use of a girl’s period than Carrie.

Also, I love love love the mother in this. Well, and all the female relationships, really. Even the character that is framed as a bully at one point makes a point of telling Brigette her views/insecurities about Sam, and how he uses virgins. She warns this girl she has been bullying all film not to let him get away with it because everyone else has, and you have a moment of ‘oh shit, film, you got me’ because Ginger isn’t the only one changing because of the beast of the Bailey Downs, everyone is. Like poor Chris. Less said about him the better–but actually wait, how great it is that his showing of the infection has him breaking out in zits? Come on, film. You had me at hello.

Andy: Ginger Snaps veers a very fun, fine line between campy and serious, never fully committing to either. I love the fact that a werewolf here can be killed by, well, anything, as one is creamed by a truck and there’s no hint of recovery. Difficult to reassemble a 30 yard bloody smear, I guess. It has its funny moments, a standout being the girls’ utterly useless and cringingly embarrassing parents, including Mom’s, uh, creative solution to the problems they find themselves in. But the story is played mostly straight, and that’s fine and dandy with me. Plus, while I imagine a 15 year old goth kid would find this deeply moving, the over-the-top emo nonsense (violin music!) was absolutely hilarious. Maybe I just don’t get it because I’m an adult and a sell out and GET OUT OF MY ROOM, GOD.

So then, a recommend from me. I liked it, maybe you will too.

Lilly: And obviously I recommend it, especially if you are an over the top goth kid like I was when I saw it. So go, watch, enjoy!

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