Director – Mitchell Lichtenstein
Cast – Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman, Lenny von Dohlen, Vivienne Benesch, Ashley Springer, Julia Garro, Nicole Swahn, Adam Wagner
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Despite hearing some OK buzz about this film I took my sweetarse time getting to this one simply because I feared this flick would come with some Feminist propaganda. Now, I am not saying there is anything really wrong about Feminism, I just feel that most political and social topics should be left out of the horror realm. At times I will be OK with such things, but only if they are executed well and provide for a good watch. Thankfully, this flick really does not have much of any Feminist propaganda, but that does not mean this is a good watch…
Teeth stars Jess Weixler as Dawn O’Keefe, a shy advocate for abstinence who preaches to young men and women about staying “pure” until marriage. Dawn’s choice to remain abstinent until marriage is not merely based on personal conviction…but on much more. Since birth Dawn has been plagued with what seems to be a toothed vagina, yes, a TOOTHED vagina. Aside from one small incident when she was a young lass this vagina of hers has never caused her any serious problems…until she meets a boy she immediately falls for. Her conviction to stay pure is compounded by her desire to have this boy. Unfortunately for Dawn, her vagina must have a say in this decision as well, a bloody and deadly decision.
I will give this film credit…it does come with an interesting and unique plot. Some of us boredom-inflicted men(like me) have pondered in the past about what it would be like to see a girl who’s vagina came with a set of chompers, so I can say that this film’s plot did interest me. From the get-go, however, I was not enamored by this film but in fact a bit turned off by its sense of storytelling and the quirky feel director Mitchell Lichtenstein gave it. For the most part, this flick is a horror comedy, and it gave me some scenes I really did not see coming, which included some nice chuckles. Sadly, I really wanted this film to get into a more horrific mode compared to its somewhat silly “Juno”-esque mode it endorsed. Oh well, I should have expected this film would naturally be aimed at appealing to young and “independent” women who feel that “The Vagina Monologues” does not do enough for them, and need something stronger. Heh.
Story-wise this film is an OK effort in the end. As I said I did laugh at all of the right parts, which was quite fun given the jokes were pretty horrid and involved…penile destruction. Did I ENJOY these scenes though? No, not really. Not because I have a penis myself(and a NICE one at that), but because after the first scene in which this act occurred every subsequent act was lame, cliché, and convoluted with unfulfilling shock in an attempt at what I felt was to merely grab the audience’s attention without giving them anything worthwhile for it. This may fall more into execution, as proper execution can help out any poorly written script, but given this film was both written and directed by Mr. Lichtenstein, there is no forgiveness here. We also get some horrid and very useless scenes. I figured that said scenes were going to lead somewhere but in the end they really did nothing to move the story and seemed to be thrown in for…maybe added runtime? In all honesty I really cannot come up with any legitimate reason as to why some of these scenes were thrown into this film, what a waste. Conflict-wise this flick failed as well. This may fall partly into direction execution as certain scene set-ups and build-ups can sell even a bad script, but the use of the authorities trying to track down Dawn was unfulfilling and much like the useless scenes I mentioned…it lead nowhere and was a waste of time. I really did, however, enjoy this film’s subtle “adaptation” element that was thrown in. As you know I am a huge fan of biological sciences thrown into horror films, and without throwing in too many spoilers my take on this element is that Dawn was born with a toothed vagina as a form of Darwin-esque adaptation to curb rape. This was a cool idea, and it went on to show how such an adaptation could be abused by the owner of such a vaginal monstrosity, which Dawn ultimately fell victim to as she began her descent from innocence into madness.
I will go on to say that I feel Lichtenstein’s direction topped his writing abilities, but not by much. We get a fair amount of gore, in the worst of ways(heh), and he did not stray away from showing the aftereffects. His use of characters was a letdown as I never found myself caring for anyone whatsoever, not even the poor female lead with a vagina accompanied by an appetite for destruction against all male jerks. Those into the legal ramifications of things will find this element annoying, as merely “saying” something rude to this girl resulted in “physical” pain and potential death, so you may want to stay away from this one. The poor development and boring conflict for Dawn could have possibly been saved by a better performance from Jess Weixler, but I am sure the script only allowed for a mediocre performance regardless.
Overall, this is a mediocre watch that comes with much potential but in the end falls short over trying too hard to be one thing(a satirical comedy) while trying to hard to be something else as well(a horror film). You may want to give this one a watch to come up with your own impression, but I was unsatisfied and actually quite disappointed.