Sunday, January 27, 2008

TEETH

The premise behind Teeth should have made for a fun, gonzo, horror film, but director Mitchell Lichtenstein gets stuck between taking his film too seriously and letting loose with the latex lunacy. Visually and viscerally, Teeth drags, and after the first gore gag, the film is spent. What's left is just another scuzz-horror time killer.

Dawn is an evangelically driven, abstinence obsessed teen from the suburbs. Her step-brother wants her and her parents are drifting ghosts. Because her family lives near some toxic smoke stacks, Dawn's vagina mutated and grew some pirhanna-like teeth. The film also argues - by way of a sloppily inserted classroom scene - that her private part anomaly is just a female evolutionary advancement. (Mother Nature's way of protecting her daughters from the predators and dogs that her sons have become).

But Lichtenstein can't make sense of anything. Is Teeth angling for fundamentalist commentary or feminist militancy? I don't think Lichtenstein could tell you either. His conceits are weightless critiques fluttering in the wind. They're flimsy because their purely fashionable. This is what happens when a hack director gets final cut.

Smarter minds would have driven the idea of teenage vagina dentata into the realm of, say, a Little Shop of Horrors, giving Dawn an out-of-control cooch similar to Seymour's Venus fly trap (a penis fly trap, perhaps?). This would've given Teeth a playable, more universal, "conscience vs. body" subtext. Sadly, Lichtenstein's only goal was to outdo Hostel II in it's number of blood squirting cocks. It's cinema nongrata.

2 comments:

debbie said...

It's funny you decided to review this movie, and I'm glad you did. I can't believe how well it's doing. It's getting GREAT reviews. I haven't seen it really, just a few of the dailies.

But, I did watch the first 5 minutes online, and that was enough. The animated opening credits were awful. They felt so tacked on. What? It sets the film to be some like biological thriller, or, something from that TV show "House" or something. Just stupid. That's my two cents.
GAWD.

Fox said...

Yeah, the purpose of the opening credits is to show her mutation, I guess. But it feels so tacked on!

Like so much of the movie, it just made me think of better ideas to execute their intentions. And - tell me if I'm wrong - but didn't they have quite a while to perfect that stuff before it hit screens?? I mean, it was purchased a year ago, right?