Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Teeth - the 'that's got to hurt!' review
Dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Here’s a freaky little oddity / horror to get your teeth into which is liable to enjoy ‘cult classic’ status before long. Written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein (whose dad is a famed pop-art purveyor) Teeth takes the bizarre legend of ‘vagina dentata’ – or for those whose Latin is rusty ‘teeth in the female nether regions’ and plays for equal parts body horror and black comedy.
It’s the unhappy tale of repressed teenage virgin Dawn (Jess Weixler doing a great job with very tricky material), who finds that she can bite at both ends. Cue a suspenseful build up to her first time via a heavy handed ‘chastity is the answer’ religious abstinence group at which she speaks. Of course it’s only a matter of time however before members and digits are in jeopardy so boyfriends, evil stepbrothers and gynaecologists beware because they may be feeling a lot less of a man after meeting Dawn.
If you’re at all squeamish Teeth is certainly not for you, there are things here that will haunt you such as the sight of a detached male organ getting munched by a Rottweiler!? In fact there were more audible cries of distress in Teeth from the hardy males in the audience than I witnessed in Sex and the City… which is saying something. Leg crossing whilst watching this is pretty much involuntary as my mate Simon and I found out, the females in the cinema however seemed to be finding it all a whole lot funnier…
Apparently the legend of the toothed vagina appears in the mythology of many and diverse cultures all over the world. In these myths, the story is mostly the same - a hero must do battle with the woman and overcome her toothed creature… Yep it’s seriously alternative viewing that’s on offer here.
But despite the weirdness of the plot, the cinematography is excellent if a little purposefully 'matter of fact' – from cool Simpsons like opening shot that takes in the sinister backdrop of twin nuclear power plant cooling towers just behind the family home, you can see that this is a director with a vision. And whilst there is on screen gore and nudity, it takes a backseat to the character interaction and genuinely funny moments of dark humour such as when returning home after emasculating her befriend she is asked by her dad if she’s hungry? “No I’ve had a bite” she quips…”
DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):
Endorphin Stimulation: öööööö (7)
+ Lots to ponder and discuss
Tasty Action: öööö (4)
- Not really an ‘action’ flick
Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
+ Jess Weixler is pretty darn hot
Mind Blight / Boredom: ööööö (5)
- So ridiculous that it can be hard to take seriously
Comedic Value: ööööööö (7)
+ Very dark comedy moments throughout
Arbitrary final rating: ööööööö (7)
Approach with caution but it works for what it is…
Liable to make you:
"keep it in your pants forever!"
DM Poster Quote:
“When Dawn says ‘no’ you better listen… "
"cult classic oddity status assured"