Females in Horror Month: Teeth (2007)
Welcome to Females in Horror Month. This next review comes from 2007′s Teeth. Unfortunately I didn’t much care for it. Did you? I wanna hear from you.
Another very hyped up flick that, at the end of the day, just didn’t deliver. These flicks seem to be the norm nowadays, and I for one am getting sick of these reviewers (who I question whether they’ve even seen the movies they’re reviewing) making grandiose comments about these turds. I swear they do it because they know if their quote strokes the movie enough then they’ll get their name on the DVD cover. For example Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter says the following about Teeth: “The most alarming cautionary tale for men since Fatal Attraction.” Crock of shit Kirk; but it was enough to get his name centered and at the top of the DVD. I don’t recall Glen Close having a set of choppers in her cooch; but come to think of it that would answer a lot of questions I had with that flick. Anyway …
The plot here follows our lead character Dawn, played by cutie Jess Weixler, as she discovers that she is harboring a fugitive between her legs. This “fugitive” is the mythical Vagina Dentata, or “toothy pussy” (not sure if that’s a direct translation, but ya get the meaning). Dawn wants nothing more than to stay pure and virginal until she gets married and even joins and becomes the high school chastity group’s strongest supporter. She wears a purity ring that she describes as such: “That’s what the ring is all about. The way it wraps around your finger – that’s to remind you to keep your gift wrapped. Wrapped… until the day… you trade it in for that other ring. That gold ring. Get it?” Haha Dawn. We get it. Sounds like Diablo Cody had some left-over dialogue lying around from Jennifer’s Body.
Ya know what? I could go on for the next two paragraphs and summarize the
plot but the entire movie comes down to this: Dawn has teeth in her vagina. That’s it. Period. End of story. If there was ever a “one trick pony” movie, Teeth is it. When I first read about this movie I was really excited. I love me a good old “female-revenge” flick. Jennifer in I Spit on Your Grave; Deanna from Ryan Nicholson’s Torched; and even Sondra Locke’s character in the fourth Dirty Harry movie Sudden Impact all make my adrenaline race as I watch these ass kicking females drunk in a pool of estrogen-fueled revenge take out the scumbags who wronged them (and most of the time the revenge they dish out is worse than what they got). But with Teeth I never felt that satisfaction of watching lead actress Weixler become the avenging angel. She just kinda treads through the script as a victim who happens to be lucky enough to have a very special defense.
My main problem with Teeth is the script and its execution. All the actors involved do really good jobs with their rolls. The problem is the actors don’t have much to work with. Weixler does a tremendous job as the innocent girl who wants to stay pure and who slowly realizes she has a bear trap between her legs. The problem with her character isn’t her portrayal of Dawn but its how the character is written. Its an extremely shallow and one-dimensional character. Writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein takes too many large leaps with Dawn’s character and by the end of the movie (which, by the way, completely falls apart) tries to leave us with an “avenging angel” wiping out male predators left and right. The utter lack of character development over the course of 94 minutes (94 loooong minutes) just doesn’t support such a dramatic change in her personality and demeanor. In more capable hands it would’ve been interesting to see such an innocent girl become a cold killer. But here Lichtenstein just didn’t pull it off. He has a strong idea that he just didn’t have the experience to pull off.
Another problem I had here was the lack of any satire and subtlety. Dawn
has a Freudian male nightmare in her honey pot but it’s never treated as such. It’s treated more like a monster that can’t be controlled. I understand the focus of the movie is Dawn, but it would have been really interesting to get the “male perspective” of the snatch-that-bites-back. This could have taken this rather dull and slow flick to a whole new level. As for the subtlety: EVERY SINGLE GUY in Dawn’s life is a scumbag rapist; from her first crush, Tobey, to her gynecologist. Where’s the fun in that? Yes I know there are a lot of fuck-crazed men out there who do indeed prey on girls. I’m not stupid. But this doesn’t make for a very intriguing movie. A film needs to have some conflict. Hell, even the brutal I Spit on Your Grave attempted to make one of the males a redeeming character! It would’ve been interesting if there were one or two genuinely nice guys who liked her and who she liked, yet who still got their meat bats ripped off by her penis fly trap. If everyone in a movie is an asshole then there’s nothing to mix it up and the flick simply becomes a tiresome, predictable formula. This movie is a tiresome, predictable formula.
There’s a couple scenes here that will make male viewers cross their legs, but there’s definitely not enough gore to recommend this movie. Even though I don’t recommend it I didn’t passionately hate it like I hated Deadgirl. Deadgirl, if you remember my review, had absolutely nothing going for it. Teeth at least has strong performances. If you disregard this review just understand going into Teeth that it’s not a horror movie. It’s a teen-drama that plays out like an afterschool special with a little blood in it. And let’s face it; couldn’t everything that occurs in this movie have been avoided by simply having anal sex??? Yeah; ya never thought of that did ya Lichtenstein!!! Teeth is loaded with more political correctness than a GOP fundraiser; has no satirical edge to it; and its completely lacking in any humor (a flick like this begs for some black humor). In more capable hands this could have been a great female revenge flick or at the least a “worm turns” movie. But Lichtenstein went the safe route and left all the elements outta Teeth that could have in fact given it teeth.
Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein (also writer)
Plot: 2 start out of 5 (for good performances)
Gore: 2 skulls out of 10
Zombie Mayhem: 0 brains out of 5 (a “zombie pussy” would have been AWESOME)
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer