If you watch one werewolf movie this Samhain, make it Ginger Snaps. Not only does it share its name with my favorite cookie, it is the best movie about female puberty ever. Lycanthropy as a metaphor for male puberty is nothing new, but menstruation remains taboo. Ginger Snaps isn’t afraid to stare menstruation right in the face.
Goth sisters Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) are in a world of their own. Sworn to a suicide pact against adulthood, Ginger inadvertently breaks their bond by being attacked by a werewolf and getting her first period on the same day. The girls deal with this unexpected turn of events their own way on their own terms, the same way they have dealt with everything that has come at them before. Things get a little out of hand when Ginger can’t control the urge to kill neighborhood dogs. It only gets worse killing-wise. Brigitte is forced to turn to the neighborhood pot dealer (a boy – gasp) to help find a “cure.” Will Brigitte administer the antidote? Is their mom really a werewolf too?
Are you thinking this doesn’t sound like your thing? That’s what I was thinking too, but after a reluctant viewing, I was charmed. Isabelle and Perkins perfectly embody the introverted sisters. Their charisma fuels the film’s engine. The script is far more intelligent than it first appears and is laugh out loud funny to boot. Ginger Snaps could only be true to itself if written by a woman, and it was, in this case Karen Walton. The ambiguity surrounding the nature of Ginger’s “curse” should keep you thinking until the next full moon.