The 90s were a difficult time for teenagers we were becoming more self-aware I think in previous generations and a whole heck of a lot more political. This is very evident in film and television especially with shows like Daria and Roseanne, or even My so-called life. As somebody who was a teenager during the decade I can tell you that I definitely went through my share of not giving a shit.
I missed out on a lot of movies as a teenager that I probably would have really enjoyed I’m not going to get into the reasons why but it is what it is. Ginger Snaps is one of those movies that looking at it now it still resonates with me and if I had seen it when it was new it probably would have become one of my favorite movies
The movie starts out with a couple of teenage girls who are sisters obsessed with death and apparently making a film for school depicting various images of suicides. This movie came out around the same time as The Virgin Suicides so that definitely was on the mind of our youth at that time. I myself experienced probably the same feelings most lost teenagers experience.
After a brief set up that there is some sort of wild animal on the loose the movie goes straight into these two depressed teenagers struggling to get through High School. Unlike The Virgin Suicides where the desire to die is somewhat of a mystery in this movie the girls have a reason for not being happy and it’s basically because they’re effectively invisible but also bullied to an extent. Which is unfortunately more than normal in our society that probably ought to be.
I didn’t go into this movie completely in the dark I have seen documentaries on horror movies and this is one that has come up from time to time but I’m definitely glad to have seen it and absolutely watch it again relatively soon I believe.
So the two characters are ginger and her sister B. Apparently they have a suicide pact that if they can’t get out of town by the time they’re 16 they’re just going to end their lives. It definitely comes off as morbid on the surface but it’s definitely very believable at least to my world.
We get a little set up into the girls lives apparently they’re both mid-teens one is 15 the other one is 16 and they have yet to begin menstrating which their mother says is normal but she’s kind of concerned. And then the girls are attacked by what appears to be a dog but we learned later is a werewolf. There’s a subplot about the girl I guess the popular girl and the pot dealer I guess having had a sexual encounter and her being jealous that he’s paying attention to the other girl this does pay off in the end and it’s quite as satisfying payoff to be honest.
The movie itself is not super scary it’s kind of atmospheric but I would describe it as more Moody and I’m perfectly okay with that. I think I would describe the mood as definitely teenage angst. The movie from what I can tell gets praised for its dealing with feminism and teenage female sexuality and sexual identity and it’s talked about in the conversations the girls have with their teachers and their mothers basically they feel powerless that no matter what they’re going to be blamed for whatever goes wrong but also what’s happening to them couldn’t possibly be happening to them because their dainty girls supposedly.
You can’t have a werewolf movie without a werewolf transformation and this movie certainly has that. The special effects are very on par with the late 90s early 2000s and I’m perfectly okay with that. The music fits the mood and tone of the film perfectly and the acting is very spot on for the most part the worst acting I would say is the popular girl and the drug dealer Maybe the Boy that turns into a werewolf might be pretty bad acting but it’s hard to tell because they don’t give him much to work with but the drug dealer definitely is not very good at acting and the popular girl was actually pretty awful for the most part but it’s okay cuz it’s a horror movie.
One thing that I found to be particularly relatable at least in terms of the mothers caring and compassion for her children and the message of female empowerment our femininity trapped in a male world one of the things that came through was the mother was willing to kill her husband it sounded like and burn their house down in order to cover up the murder her child committed.
Watching Ginger transform into a hormonal teenager and then at the same time transforming into a monster of course there’s metaphors there but it’s also handled really well it’s very powerful as you’re watching it. I could feel her emotions I could feel what she felt and that’s part of why I fell in love with this movie instantly.
And the love the sister has for her is so powerful in this movie and everything she does for Ginger just further proof that she doesn’t take the suicide pact seriously but she loves her sister more than life itself.
Being a 90’s movie it is R rated but not at the same level as an 80s horror movie gore is just where it needs to be not over-the-top and there’s very little nudity I think it’s more suggestive than explicit like it would have been in the 80s. Understandable considering the girls were probably underage when it was being filmed and so it wouldn’t have been a good idea to have them get too exposed.
I think the writer put all of their energies in the teenage characters and really neglected to flush out the adults I think the adults come across as what teenagers view adults in those situations and that’s understandable because the movie is portrayed Through The Eyes of the two teenage girls.
One of my favorite moments is when Ginger was about to explore her sexuality with the I want to say jerk who she ends up turning and just the way she takes charge of that situation after he declares he’s the man and it’s his I guess duty to take charge and she puts him in his place. But as would be probably normal in that situation she immediately regrets her decision and goes through a period Where she expresses those regrets.
This was a movie that as I was watching it I knew I was discovering something that was very much going to connect me to my own youth. I would have fallen in love with this movie had I seen it as a teenager when it was new and I’m certainly in love with it now.
The 80s will always be my favorite decade for horror movies in terms of overall number of movies released and great franchises. But the 90s horror movies although fewer in total number are in my opinion more impactful each individually when you take something like Silence of the Lambs, scream oh, I Know What You Did Last Summer, the faculty these movies are more impactful to me then even a Nightmare on Elm Street or a child’s play for example.
In a rare move for me this movie is one that I don’t want to continue to miss out on I feel like I should have seen it earlier and probably made it one of my regular movies that I view. It’s absolutely going into my regular rotation as of right now. It’s actually one of those rare movies that after I finished it I didn’t want to watch another movie because I was afraid I would lessen the impact it had on me. In fact I was very tempted to sit down and actually watch it again. Which is very rare for me. I don’t think I’ll watch it again tonight but I’m definitely going to watch it again soon.
In the decade we’re young girls including a trans girl like myself add Daria on TV as you could say a role model or a voice for Our Generation this movie definitely fits right into that culture.