Monday, May 26, 2008


Mitchell Lichtenstein | 2007 | 88 min | US

Dawn is the proud vocal leader of her high school's chastity group. It is a role which has earned her daily taunts from most of her high school classmates, but has been essential in Dawn keeping her budding and confusing sexuality at bay. Dawn possesses the vagina dentata of myth, a toothed vagina, but is unaware of her uniqueness or why her own body frightens her.

It takes a little while for Teeth to get rolling beyond the same chastity riffing as Saved and when it does move ahead it is because Dawn is the victim of an assault. The attack leads her to believe she may be slightly different than other girls, biologically speaking. Her vagina dentata reveals itself to be a defense against sexual violence, but unfortunately, Teeth's lazy script then demands every male be a rapist in order to propel the story forward at all. With such clumsy characterization the intended shocks give way to eye rolling very quickly.

Of the many problems with Teeth the biggest is that Lichtenstein can never decide what he wants the film to be. The early moments of horror work very well, but then it runs off the rails into self-conscious comedy. Then back to horror, but this time without the punch. Then back to comedy. I think.

Considering how scattered this film is, it's surprising that it is so utterly predictable at every turn. By the time the last scene lumbered forward I don't know if I was more irritated by the wink at the camera or that I knew it was coming. The one saving grace is the performance of Jess Weixler as Dawn. Stick to helping your dad paint dots, Mitchell.

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