After sitting through Killer Pussy only a couple weeks ago I was not certain I was up to another vagina dentata film so soon. In fact I had passed over this a few times at the local DVD store and when I did pick it up I figured I was basically “taking one for the team”to just have something to watch and review as is often the case with me and horror films. I never get what I am expecting or what the cover promises. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised (in a ghastly sort of way) and it is really the type of horror-genre film I am starting to like more and more. That is, one with a ample amount of humor and wit to the story line as opposed to nihilistic angst and depression. Okay, nihilism and depression are scary in that "deep thinking" sort of way and seeing a bunch of moody depressed teenagers offed by a psycho is actually entertaining. But Teeth had that type of gory, sexy charm that films by Brian Yuzna once had, before he moved to Europe and started to make films that now seem so, well, European.
While the movie has all the trappings of a dark comedy make no mistakes about this 2007 black comedy, it is a horror movie.There is gore and severed penises aplenty here and I certainly found my knees defensively clamping together more often than during the silly Killer Pussy. The story follows the innocently beautiful and religiously abstinent Dawn O’Keefe (Jess Weixler) who is sexually unaware of her body in all aspects. However we already know something is amiss since her family lives in the shadow of a smoking nuclear power plant and once something happened to her step-brother Brad’s finger (John Hensley) while he “diddled” her in the familiy's plastic swimming pool. He still carries the scar and reflects on what actually happened "that day". I watched the film Shutter the following night and it starred the freaky looking Von Dohlen in yet another slimy role. He does a fine job hope here and I want to see him in more things.
Dawn is committed to the sexual abstinence group called The Promise and yet something changes after she meets new member Tobey (Hal Appleman) and soon she is actually having near sexual fantasies about him. Of course in the fantasy she imagines that they are married first, sweet girl. She and Tobey return to a “lovers pond” they had visited with friends form the group earlier and while making out in a hidden cave Tobey shows what jerks nice guys really are and after whining he has not even jerked off since Easter he pins her down and enters her… and well… chomp. Dawn is almost as panicked stricken as Tobey (and mind you that is a very big almost) as they both stare at the bloody weiner on the cave floor. Tobey flees the cave and is found later dead in the pond, having bled to death in the pond.
Dawn is soon surfing the net and reading about the myth of vagina dentata, or the toothed vagina, and to rule out any doubts she goes to see a sleazy gynecologist who is remarking in one scene about how tight she is and then gawking at his bloody fingers lying all over the floor the next. Dawn is distraught and finds comfort in seemingly safe classmate Ryan (Ashley Springer). Like any likable, shy guy he gives Dawn some sedatives and booze to calm her nerves and then soon is sporting some finger tickler vibrator and has Dawn convinced he is the “hero” she needs to control the fangs down-under. During sex she is relaxed and nothing chewy happens and she realizes she can have some control if she wants. Of course nice guy Ryan is actually the slime ball all men inherently are (at least in these sort of movies or else how will anyone get their Johnson’s bit off) and while bragging on the phone to his pal that he nailed the hottest celibate in the school Dawns gets pissed and clamps down on arrogant Ryan then spits him out.
She next sets the sites of her pearly whites on her misanthropic death-rocker step brother Brad who recently just let her mom die rather than interrupt his hobby of sodomizing his girlfriend and calling 911. In one of the best scenes in movie poor Brad must watch as his faithful Rottweiler makes a snack out of his mangled tallywacker but coughs back up the pierced glands. Yikes. In the final scenes Dawn sits in a car at a Motel 6 type establishment with the greatest dirty old man ever set to celluloid. After becoming increasingly annoyed she turns and gives the camera and knowing and sinister smile. A smile that probably signals a sequel with a more focused and revenge motivated Dawn being in complete control of the situations.
Look, this thing could have gone a couple different ways and perhaps still succeeded. Director/writer Micthell Licthenstein could have made it into a total gory, body count spoof or a soul searching existential horror flick (thank God he did not do that) but he took a sort of middle ground and pulled it all off for the most part. Once comedy becomes part of the equation a little leeway can be given for plot idiosyncrasies that more serious films cannot sustain. The acting is really excellent all the way around as is the photography and score. The camera does not flinch on severed penis shots and one shot of a blood gushing dick stump I had captured for my review I deemed too much for my readers still possessed of some modicum of decency to have to look at. The humor helps it succeed, but it never becomes a brainless farce. I give it 3 1/2 skulls as I can hardly go higher on a horror-comedy, with rare exceptions like Shawn of the Dead perhaps. I definitely prefer it to some of the gloomier horror films I have endured lately such as The Strangers.