Teeth is newly streaming on Netflix, so now is a better time than any to write a review for it. Horror movies are obviously my favorite genre, but some films are only meant to be viewed once or twice at the most. Others, you want to watch over and over and over. Three films I can’t get enough of are May (2002), Excision (2012), and Teeth (2007). Why these are the first films to pop in my head, I couldn’t really tell you, but there is something about these movies that make my heart sing. Call me crazy for loving a movie about a teen girl who discovers her vagina has chomping teeth (“Vagina Dentata!”), but there is no mistaking the commanding tongue-in-cheek statement about the dangers of teenage promiscuity.
First a quick synopsis of the plot. Dawn (played by Jess Weixler) is an uber conservative, girl-next-door type who prides herself on being role model for youngsters. She leads The Promise Ring Group (“Keep your gift wrapped!”) at her high school and speaks out about the importance of saving your virginity until marriage. (This part reminds me a bit of the film Saved! (2004)). But the teenage body can do funny things sometimes and Dawn faces her first moment of temptation when she meets Tobey. She also has to deal with her step-brother, Brad, who could not be more of a polar opposite as a heavy-metal, head-banging, pot-smoking, trouble-maker. An exceptionally disturbing incident gives rise to the fact that, unbeknownst to her, Dawn has been harboring a dark secret her whole life- her vagina has teeth!
This is an unflinching view of men as perpetrators and women as piranhas. You would think this was written and directed by a woman with the exceedingly apparent distrust and fear of men, but this is not the case. Writer/Director Mitchell Lichtenstein has more acting experience than directing, yet this film is flawless for its tone and subject matter. It NEEDS humor- it’s about a vagina with teeth for God’s sake! The dark comedic edge really makes this film something special and counteracts the moments of extreme brutality (i.e. rape, penis castration).
This is one of the most memorable films to date, for obvious reasons. Sure Teeth is tasteless and shockingly graphic at times, but it belongs among the best for being bold enough to go where other films fear to strike. Budding sexuality and raging hormones run rampant in this film, paving the way for a whimsical and horrifying exaggeration and warning against teen promiscuity.
Also, don’t miss when the credits role mentioning “no man was harmed in the making of this film.”
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