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8/20/08

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Is there a scarier idea for a guy, than a vagina with teeth? Taking the ultimate in pleasure and turn it into an extremely dangerous proposition, is a great premise for a horror film. Teeth takes that idea and manages to turn it into something slightly more than that, and although the film is extremely flawed in some areas, its comes up enough interesting ideas to make it well worth seeing. The filmmakers got very ambitious with the project and nearly turned out a cult-classic, but the tone jumps so wildly from scene to scene, that the film doesn’t flow well and loses some momentum along the way.

The film starts with our anti-heroine Dawn, about seven-years-old, sitting in a play pool with her step-brother, who wants to play “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”. He takes it a little too far, sticking his finger in, and then in sweet revenge, nearly gets it bitten off. The film sets this gruesome mutation up slighly, with a short shot of a nuclear power plant in the background of their family’s home. The film jumps almost a decade to where Dawn is now a quickly blossoming teenager. She’s part of a militant group of virgins, that vow to wait till marriage, after a rousing speech, she claims the torch as one of the groups leaders. Being a pretty young girl, that of course won’t stop boys from trying to get into her pants.

She thinks she’s safe in her friendship with the dreamy Tobey, who too is one of the groups leaders. There’s a hilarious scene where Dawn starts to masturbate, dreaming about a wedding between the two, but stops herself before going through with it. Even the virginal Tobey proves that teenage hormones are too strong to overcome and friendly swim turns nasty, when he tries to rape her. Her vagina dentata come in extremely handy, and Tobey is quickly dispatched by getting his penis bit off in gruesome, yet darkly humorous series of shots. Dawn is terrified, she doesn’t know how to react to what happened. Her extreme lack of sexual education doesn’t teach her that her teeth are abnormal. Soon she’s visiting her first gynecologist, where according to the world of Teeth, all men are evil-sexual-fiends, and the situation quickly turns gnarly. The film continues from there, with Dawn growing more comfortable with her abnormality, turning it into a favorable situation, dismembering a few more sexual deviants along the way.

The story of Teeth is obviously a metaphor for a girl growing into a woman, using the danger of her teeth as a replacement for her burgeoning sexual desires. It plays off this idea, without cramming it down our throats. The main problem with the film lie in the tone of the film. Most of the scenes do manage to convey the right emotions; the film is equally dramatic, deadly funny and terrifying at moments, but the way it jumps from scene to scene it becomes very uneven. Writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein, in his first feature, is able to pull of this delicate balancing act for the first half of the film, but by the end it’s very distracting as the various plots come to a head. The film is nicely put together, with some good acting, especially in the case of Jess Weixler as Dawn, it’s an extremely memorable role, that may be tough to shake for a while. Ultimately the film has enough good ideas to outweigh the bad, making it worth seeing. Grade: B- (Seen on 6/23/08)

Opening scene of Teeth:



1 Response to Teeth:

  1. Totally agree with you about the tone of this movie. Dark comedy, Full fledge horror or both.

    Please pick one.

    It didn't bore me. At least it had gratuitous nudity.

    -the jaded viewer

    http://www.jadedviwer.com

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