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Ginger Snaps is a 2000 Canadian teen horror film which uses lycanthropy as a metaphor for female puberty. The story revolves around the sullen and morbid Fitzgerald sisters, Brigitte and Ginger, outcasts at their high school, with no friends besides each other. The close bond between the sisters is put in danger after Ginger gets attacked and bitten by a strange beast in the woods. Soon following the incident, radical changes start happening in her body and behavior. Her parents and teachers brush it off as her finally starting her journey into adulthood, but Brigitte knows something far more sinister is going on.

The film spawned two follow-up movies in 2004 which were filmed back-to-back; Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed, a direct sequel which puts Brigitte in a rehab clinic struggling with a werewolf curse of her own, and the direct-to-DVD Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning, a prequel of sorts set in the early 19th century North American frontier.

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This film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Neither Brigitte or Ginger murder Trina. She slips in some rotten milk and smashes her brains out on the countertop.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Ginger's first "boyfriend" is Jason, the biggest jerk in school.
  • Alpha Bitch: Trina Sinclair. She relentlessly teases Ginger and Brigitte and assaults Brigitte in gym class after she overhears the sisters making sarcastic comments about her. Despite her horrid behavior, she's very popular with the boys and has a Girl Posse that follows her around.
  • Artifact Title: Ginger dies in the first film, which makes the title meaningless in the sequel except for establishing the franchise. She comes back for Ginger Snaps Back.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After having sex with Jason, Ginger returns eerily quiet. After Bridgette asks Ginger if Jason hurt her, she heads straight to the bathroom to throw up. Bridgette follows and finds Ginger covered in blood. She (and the audience) fears the worst, and asks “Where is he?”, to which Ginger responds, “Next door.” Upon looking over the fence, we learn that Jason is fine. The neighbors’ dog Norman... not so much.
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  • Beauty Inversion: The filmmakers do a very good job of making Emily Perkins (Bridgette) look frumpy, when you consider just how gorgeous she is in real life.
  • Berserk Button: If Ginger even suspects anyone of doing anything to Brigitte, they're dead, whether they're guilty or not.
  • Body Horror: As a result of being attacked by a werewolf, Ginger grows fur on her wounds, grows a tail, and develops a dewclaw on her right ankle.
  • Bloody Horror: Jason urinates blood after having unprotected sex with Ginger.
  • Brainy Brunette: Brigitte figures out what's happening to Ginger and finds a method by which to counter her transformation. She also enacts a rather audacious plan in the end, which only unravels because she kept it to herself.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Though it's not nearly as blatant in the film as it was in early drafts of the script, the subtext is here and there. Particularly during Ginger's We Can Rule Together moment at the halls of the school, when she sensually climbs on top of Brigitte and tries to convince her to become a werewolf as well by "swapping juice".
  • Canada, Eh?: All three movies take place somewhere in Canada.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the opening scene of the film, Ginger plays with a knife, and suggests she's planning on slitting her throat with it. Later, she uses the same knife to try and cut off her tail. Finally, Brigitte uses the knife in the finale to kill Ginger in self-defense.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: The werewolf that infects Ginger is taken out, not by a silver bullet, but by a speeding van. Sam uses this knowledge to think of possible alternatives to dealing with lycanthropy, while Ginger tries debunking the possibility of werewolves altogether.
  • Cold Open: A series of establishing shots of the suburbs, with no music and only a single production logo at the start.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: More for Brigitte than for Ginger.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Played straight, then inverted. Ginger denies that anything is amiss with her at first, despairs when she accepts it, and tries to control or cure it with Brigitte's help. But as the curse progresses, bringing to the fore her darkest impulses, she decides that lycanthropy is wonderful. She feels empowered, a force of nature, and no longer wants to return to her mundane life, but rather to drag her sister into her new one. She loses both herself and her life in the end.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Ginger. Of course, this all depends on how far she's gone into her transformation.
  • Death by Falling Over: Trina brains herself on a countertop by slipping in a puddle of milk.
  • Downer Ending: The film ends with Brigitte infecting herself with the werewolf curse before Ginger transforms into a full werewolf and kills Sam, before getting killed by Brigitte. Brigitte survives, but her sister and multiple other people are dead and she's badly traumatized. The sequel reveals that monkshood didn't fully cure Brigitte, either, it only slowed her transformation.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Ginger on the day of her transformation.
  • Emo Teen: Both of the Fitzgerald sisters, who are moody loners with a fascination with death.
  • Epunymous Title: It's a triple entendre: Ginger mentally "snaps" and goes on a killing spree, Ginger snaps with her teeth after transforming, and, of course, ginger snaps are a kind of cookie.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Ginger is introduced playing with a kitchen knife, and explaining to her sister why suicide is perfect for them.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone seems to think Brigitte and Sam have a thing for one another. When Sam finds out, he claims he doesn't think of her that way. Brigitte probably doesn't either.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: After she gets bitten, dogs constantly bark at Ginger.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Not even her parents seem to notice Ginger's fangs, which become more and more pronounced until her entire mouth is monstrously revamped. As it nears its final stages, her now-blatant lycanthropy is dismissed as a Halloween costume.
  • Fan Disservice: Ginger comes on to Sam in a way she seems to think is alluring, but this is more disturbing than anything else because she's 16 and Sam is probably older than 18, she has six nipples on her chest, and the curse has left her skin extremely wrinkled and malformed.
  • Fiery Redhead: Ginger, though she's more reserved at the beginning.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Towards the end of the movie, Ginger goes to the Halloween party in Sam's greenhouse. Everyone thinks her deformed face and white hair are a costume.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Played straight in that Brigitte is the smart one, and Ginger is the pretty one, but subverted in that the sisters are unbelievably close friends, at least initially.
  • Gorn: The blood-eating scene at the end.
  • Goth: Brigitte and Ginger exhibit a post-grunge Y2K era style of the counterculture, wearing thrift store clothes, leggings, coats, and sneakers, along with their signature bird skull necklaces.
  • Growing Up Sucks: The theme of the series.
  • Henpecked Husband: Mr. Fitzgerald, who is distant from his daughters and doesn't seem to have much volition withinh his troubled marriage with Pamela.
  • I Have This Friend...: Inverted; when Brigitte goes to Sam to get help for the werewolf curse, she lies and tells him she herself is the one in need of a cure, not Ginger. Sam sees through this almost immediately.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The film takes place over the month of October, with the climax occurring on Halloween night.
  • Jail Bait: Though he could be below the age of consent, Sam is implied to have a thing for these, being referred to as a “cherry hound” by Trina and accused of trying to get into Brigitte's pants by Ginger. Maybe he should stop hanging around high schools in that big, conspicuous van... In a deleted scene Brigitte actually mentions this title to Sam, who, seemingly aware of his reputation, denies it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As much of a bitch as Trina was, she was completely right in thinking Brigette and Ginger kidnapped her dog. Also, considering Ginger both assaulted her and implied she was going to kill her, she was quite justified in pulling a knife on her.
  • Kick the Dog: Ginger gets several, one of her first being an actual dog, in the face.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Ginger, as a Big Sister to Brigitte. She is absolutely merciless to anyone that bullies her sister.
    Ginger: Do you want me to kill her? I can kill her for you, B.
    Brigitte: Whatever.
    Ginger: No, B. Not "Whatever". This isn't "Whatever".
    • Later, she takes things too far, killing even the janitor because she doesn't like the way he looks at Brigitte.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Plot summaries for the second movie makes no secret of Brigitte contracting the werewolf curse and Ginger being dead at the end of this one.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Strands of Ginger's hair starts turning grey as a part of the curse. By the end, her hair is pure white. Interestingly, this doesn't happen to Brigitte when she begins turning.
  • Metamorphosis: The werewolf curse in these films isn't the usual "transform every time the moon is full, and revert at daybreak" deal. Once bitten, you transform slowly over the course of one month (a gruesome process involving the growth of fingernails into sharp claws, canine teeth becoming much larger, and the development of wolf parts like a tail and dewclaw) until the night of the next full moon where the transformation massively accelerates, virtually destroying your mind and permanently locking you into a wolf form.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: People notice that Trina is missing very quickly.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Brigitte and Ginger have a fascination with death and stage scenes of each other committing suicide or dying in accidents.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Ginger getting her period is a major plot point as that's what attracts the werewolf to her in the first place.
    • It is also the first change of many that will serve as a wedge between Ginger and her sister. Up until that point, their personalities and aims were almost identical. Ginger's abrupt but inevitable entrance into puberty foreshadows the sisters' emerging conflict and Brigitte's need to assert her own identity.
    • Ginger's entering puberty and getting bit around the same time also helps maintaining The Masquerade: everyone who doesn't know about or believe in werewolves, including Ginger herself, tends to attribute the changes in her behavior solely to her puberty without further questions.
  • Not Using The W Word: Ginger refuses to acknowledge her transformation (and all vocabulary regarding such) at first.
    • The word 'werewolf' is only uttered once in the entire series.
  • Ontological Inertia: A werewolf does not revert to human form after death. In fact, they don't revert to human form ever.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Ginger's transformation into werewolf happens gradually, unlike in typical werewolf lore. Parallels are originally drawn between the curse and puberty, while the second film compares it to struggling with drug addiction. Also, the curse can be spread through unprotected sex, instead of only by being bitten.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Brigitte only has one genuine smile in the movie.
  • The Promise: Brigitte and Ginger made a promise when they were eight, "Out by sixteen or dead in this scene, but together forever." Their promise goes unfulfilled at the end of the first movie, but is kept in a weird way in the prequel, with both sisters becoming werewolves together in the wilderness.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Brigitte manages to walk away with her life and escape the curse, but both Sam and Ginger are dead.
  • The Snark Knight: The Fitzgerald sisters, to the rest of society.
  • Stepford Smiler: Pamela Fitzgerald, to a terrifyingly perky degree. Made even more disturbing in a deleted scene where she claims credit for Trina's murder.
  • Suicide Pact: Ginger and Brigitte have had one since they were young, intending to die together. They don't.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Well, unless you think making a Suicide Pact and staging gory death scenes for kicks are appropriate pastimes for two teenage girls.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted; Brigitte never reveals her plan for dealing with Ginger, and it goes well at first, but it's foiled by someone else who, on being yelled at for screwing it up, has the quite reasonable reaction of "How was I supposed to know that?!"
  • Undying Loyalty: The sisters' initial devotion to one another.
  • Viral Transformation: The werewolf "curse" is biological in nature, but it bears a number of striking similarities to the supernatural werewolves of legend.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ginger and Brigitte constantly take snipes at one another. Comes with the territory of being that close to one another, really.
  • We Can Rule Together: Ginger trying to seduce Brigitte into joining her as a werewolf.

"You know, we're almost not even related anymore..."
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