A teenage girl starts to find her body going through changes.
Brigette and Ginger Fitzgerald (Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle) are sisters who have long had an obsession with death. They even have a death pact which is supposed to be enacted when the two turn 16 if they haven’t left the suburbs. Despite the fact that Ginger, the older sister, is almost 16, she has yet to hit puberty. One night, while on their way to take vengeance on a bully, Ginger gets her first period. The blood attracts a creature which has been behind a number of dog killings in the area and Ginger is attacked and bitten before the creature gets run over by a car belonging to a local drug dealer named Sam (Kris Lemche).
Soon, Ginger starts to undergo a number of strange transformations. She starts to become aggressive, her wounds heal fast, grows hair in strange places, has heavy menstrual flow, and finds a tail coming out of her backside. Naturally, she’s told that it’s all part of becoming a woman. However, Brigette realizes that there is truly something wrong with her sister. She and Sam have to try and stop Ginger from really letting her wild side run free… or eat anyone.
If you’ve read this blog before, you’re aware that my favorite horror films are ones which use the medium as a way to address actual issues. This film is at the pinnacle of horror metaphor films, being a satire about how society treats women, particularly women’s health. The film can somewhat be represented by the scene in which Ginger and Brigitte explain Ginger’s symptoms, but all of them are dismissed by the school nurse as being parts of “becoming a woman.” In fact, any time that a person who doesn’t believe in the supernatural is told of Ginger’s condition, they assume it’s just part of puberty.
Ginger’s bloodlust from her lycanthropy is mirrored by her awakening sexuality. Carnivorous and carnal are constantly intertwined. As she grows more lupine at times, she also grows more confident and feminine at others. It’s made even more blatant when it’s revealed that the two ways to infect people with the disease are through biting or through sex. As her body and behavior change without her having any conscious desire for it, she becomes both more interesting and more repulsive. I swear that werewolves were created just for this metaphor.
John Fawcett, the director and co-writer, wanted to make a female-led horror movie and approached screenwriter Karen Walton about it. She essentially only agreed on the condition that this film treated women in the opposite way that the genre usually does. I think it would be hard for someone to say that the movie didn’t live up to that promise. Ginger and Brigette are both well-crafted characters who have way more personality than almost any main characters get in a horror movie, let alone female characters. They’re oddballs, but they’re believable. Their relationship is the core of the movie because they’re extremely close and it shows even when their friendship becomes progressively more strained. Focusing more on this than much of the traditional horror is one of the strong points of the movie. It depends heavily on the performances of the leads and they nail it so hard they got two sequels (well, a sequel and prequel).
Overall, this is just a fabulous movie and I really recommend it to everyone. It’s not as scary as many horror films, but it will change your perspective more.
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