REVIEW: TEETH


CAST

Jess Weixler (The Lie)
John Hensley (Nip/Tuck)
Josh Pais (Younger)
Hale Appleman (Smash)
Lenny Von Dohlen (Dracula’s Widow)
Laila Liliana Garro (The Brave One)

Dawn (Jess Weixler) discovers at a very young age that something is a little different about her. And she quickly represses herself, in part by joining The Promise, a teen abstinence group that stresses purity. That makes it especially challenging when she starts to have feelings for born-again virgin Tobey (Hale Appleman). Their courtship draws parallels to Adam and Eve, ending in tragedy for Tobey after he pushes his temptation a little too far.

And it’s not like Dawn has the happiest home life, either. Her mom is sick, possibly the result of those ominous, phallic nuclear cooling towers that hover behind her house. Even worse is having to live with stepbrother Brad (John Hensley), a tattooed, mutton-chopped bad boy who listens to a lot of heavy metal music, has a pet Rottweiler he keeps in a cage–and has developed an affinity for asses, the result of a painful childhood curiosity for his stepsister that left his finger scarred. Dawn quickly does some research and discovers the myth of vagina dentata (Latin for “toothed vagina”), which springs from a primitive masculine dread of the mysteries of women and sexual union. It’s a myth created by men, playing on fears of weakness and impotence. Men are supposed to take an epic journey back to the womb–the “dark crucible” that hatched them–to become a hero and conquer the enemy. But writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein turns that myth on its head, and the result is a bloody hysterical jolt of female empowerment.

It’s clear from the opening scenes that this story plays out as a cautionary fairy tale, a self-aware spoof of exploitation films with exaggerated characters and performances, and a plot worthy of Greek mythology. There are a number of influences at work: It’s sort of like Tim Burton crossed with John Waters (think Edward Scissorhands meets Serial Mom), mixed with elements of Carrie and Jaws, with I Spit on Your Grave and Hostel 2 thrown in for good measure.

This is one of those movies you hear about and can’t believe got made,  On the surface, it sounds like a stunt movie destined to fail, but there’s a surprisingly powerful message that creeps through. More importantly, it’s damn funny and perhaps the funniest gynecological exam I’ve ever seen on film.As for the horror fans out there, like myself? It’s gross, for sure, with just enough bloodletting to make you cringe, but this is a comedy first. So don’t watch this expecting to be scared…unless the sight of severed penises is enough to make you scream.

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