Friday, 27 May 2011


Title: Teeth
Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Released: 2007
Staring: Jess Weixler, Hale Appleman, Ashley Springer, Josh Pais, John Hensley, Nicole Swahn, Lenny Von Dohlen

Plot: Dawn (Weixler) is a spokesperson for local Christian abstinence group “The Promise”, while she unknowingly also suffering from a condition known as “vagina dentate” better known as a toothed vagina.

Review: “Teeth” is a film which is all about it’s concept much like “The Human Centipede” (2009), “Zombie Strippers” (2008) and “Snakes On A Plane” (2006) and while having a concept film sure helps to generate a lot of word of mouth press, these films usually end up being as quickly forgotten as they burst onto the public conscious, with this film certainly being similar to this extent like “Snakes On A Plane” for although it succeeded in generate a lot of interest on it’s release I’ve yet to find more than a handful of people who actually bother to watch that film when it came out, the same could also be said for "Teeth" though it’s not quite been forgotten yet, but this could also be a lot to do with the sheer snigger factor that the idea of a vagina with teeth tends to bring out in folks.

The directorial debut of Mitchell Lichtenstein (son of 60’s pop artist Roy Lichtenstein), here he has clearly aimed for shock appeal here by taking such a b-movie premise and one also previously explored in the slightly less subtle “Sexual Parasite: Killer Pussy” (2004) and to an extent achieved it, especially how he had neighbours to the film set protesting the film, believing that the film was porn and only it's when you watch the film that you realise that he is more bizzarly and surprisingly aiming to hit the indie comedy market only to miss it completely as well as creating what is essentially an extremely tedious horror film at it’s core, no thanks to a painfully slow build up to the first real introduction of her condition, after hinting at it from the opening in which a young Dawn extra teeth unwittingly bite her step brother Brad’s wandering finger, which even more creepily he does in a paddling pool directly in front of their parents, an incestuous obsession he continues into adulthood. Still her condition is never fully explained though, seeing how their house is located in the shadow of a huge nuclear power station, we can only assume that Director Lichtenstein wants the audience to assume that this is the cause

Dawn’s is played convincingly by Weixler whom unsurprisingly picked up the jury price when the film was premiered at sundance, while also drawing comparisons to Meryl Streep. constantly being torn between her ever increasing sexual urges, while her religious beliefs, leave her stranded in the social no mans land between frigid and slut, a battle which rages on within her school as her fellow classmates face the continual pressures to give into their urges, meanwhile sex education classes have pictures of the female reproductive organs taped over no doubt due to pressures from the local religious community and further explaining the lack of knowlege about her own body Dawn posesses, with her own belief further driving home in her mind the idea of such areas a being taboo for any kind of self exploration, as seen in scenes of her cautiously and gingerly exploring herself. Still though many questions are raised in this film Lichtenstein chooses not to clarify the majority of them.

When faced with her own sexual awakening brought on by dating fellow promise member Toby (Appleman), and the rejection of his sexual advances, which in turn lead to an attempted rape, which needless to say ends badly for Toby, that we finally get the first pay off at almost 45 minutes into the film, which is certainly almost torturous when being forced to endure so many of the characters, who are either cookie cutter caricatures or just plain unlikable sleaze balls which seemed to be nearly every male character in the film, making me wonder if this film had been scripted by the writers of “The L Word” which also had the tendency of portraying nearly all their male characters in some form of negative light and usually as greasy and disgusting almost as if they were trying to put across the message that their predominantly lipstick lesbian cast, had become lesbian purely because the men around them were such scum and thier fairer sex was a much more attractive proposition, when faced with thier limited choices and it’s similar feelings I felt here, were it would seem that any guy she feels any form of attraction to is either a potential rapist or complete Douchbag. Still Hensley’s attempt at tough guy bravado playing the quick to violence step brother Brad is arguably one of the most laughable performances in the film, with Hensley coming off more moody than threatening and certainly not helped by his cheap fake looking tattoos, much like the fact he continues undeterred to have sex with his girlfriend while his step mother collapses outside his bedroom door, in one the least plausible moments in the film, which seems to serve only as a way to setup Dawn’s revenge against him later in the film, where her revenge is one certainly served ice cold.

The body count is surprisingly light here, thanks mainly to Lichtenstein refusing to turn Dawn into a woman on a mission of vengeance against these obnoxious men who she seems to frequently attract and only hints at Dawn taking on such a mission with the stumble of an ending, which rather than setting up a sequel pretty much marked were the concept finally runs out of steam, as honestly this film leaves nowhere essentially for her character to go. Still the attack scenes while being all centred predictably around the crotch region (but then what else is going to go there…..actually don’t answer that), we also get some chopped off digits formally belonging to Dawn’s Gynaecologist, all filmed in a very over-exaggerated style, which added a nice comical edge, much like the surviving victims refusal to say how they got their injuries, while having their assorted detached limbs reattached. Rather than trying to go for full on gore, though for those of you wandering wanting to see a chewed of penis, will be happy to know that Lichtenstein doesn’t disappoint or cheat the audience by keeping things off screen.

“Teeth” might be an intriguing premise, but essentially this ends up being a film which is certainly all bark and very little bite, thanks to it’s mish mash characterisation and horrible pacing, let alone the fact Lichtenstein seems to be trying cover far too many bases, rather than focusing on the main reason were watching the film to begin with, while leaving far to many of these avenues of exploration open, to the point that you wonder if there was any real point to the film. So like any potential date of Dawn’s I would recommend that you approach this one with caution.


  1. I like this one a lot more than you I guess! I love the upbeat tone it starts with and the joke that every man in Dawn's life is trying to have sex with her. It gets a little obvious with its themes, but I like its spirit and ambition and think it's nice companion piece to Ginger Snaps.

  2. I loved "Ginger Snaps", but the characterisation here was just plain horrible, so that perhaps I was alittle too happy when they discovered Dawn's secret.
    I'm sure in the hands of a better director such as Cronenberg (whose body mutation days I kind of miss), it might have worked better.

  3. The above comment-er Emily took the words out of my mouth. I watch the flick for the comedy more than anything else and most people I recommend it to (with that in mind) seem to have fun with it also.



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