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Teeth Certainly An Interesting Diversion, Not Much Else

Written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein
Roadside Attractions/Dimension Extreme, 2008

The female revenge fantasy flick has been around for awhile, probably most violently and notably with I Spit on Your Grave, a movie that made a female character the victim of a horrible rape and then spent months getting stronger in order to get some bloody, lethal payback. In many ways, horror films have always been female revenge fantasies, perhaps not as in-your-face as Grave, but as Dr. Sam Loomis has pointed out in his Friday the 13th retrospective, many of these films contain a “final girl,” an unlikely hero in the end.

Teeth is a little different from your typical horror movie in that it doesn’t allow the female to be a victim; it empowers the potential victim with a little thing called evolution…and well, certainly the most titillating/scary function of evolution ever to pass a man’s ears: vagina dentata, or toothed vagina.

Dawn O’Keefe (comely Jess Weixler) is a Christian girl preaching abstinence to various schools, but her position is being challenged by feelings for Tobey (Hale Appleman), a guy who helps her spread the word. Tobey and Dawn are on the path to having premarital sex, but Dawn is a little more strong-willed and Tobey begins to push her too far…to the end of his manhood. Dawn doesn’t quite understand this phenomenon yet, it happened earlier as a child when her new stepbrother (played older by Nip/Tuck’s John Hensley) tried to touch her, leaving bite marks on his index finger.

So the story goes, Dawn begins to wonder about this mutation and as she investigates it, no one better dare try to mess with her. This is kind of where the movie lost me a bit, because every man she runs into is a predator. There isn’t anyone out there who is trying to protect her or help her. Of course, no one needs to, she’s got the equipment to defend herself.

This reminds me of a slicker Troma production, and in fact is similar somewhat to Troma’s Killer Condom, in which male members are offed by a toothy menace. As a horror/comedy, Teeth works for a little while then becomes tiresome much like a comedy sketch bloated into a 90-minute movie. But I’ll be looking for Jess Weixler in the future…she’s a cutie and performs admirably within the limited premise.

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