Teeth is a Horror /Thriller/Black-Comedy that’s a bit lacking when it comes to the comedy. Overall I enjoyed this movie, however one of the “themes” of the film bothers the shit out of me. Which I plan to talk about that later on. While I do draw serious issue with aspects of Teeth, the acting was enjoyable and the overacting in places is wildly memorable. Mitchell Lichtenstein did a great job given he spread himself so thin on this film, as the writer, director, and producer. Even though it does feel thin in places and is jolty in its delivery. The story is solid and the characters are entertaining, unfortunately not the most sympathetic.
Teeth follows Dawn O’Keefe (Jess Weixler) who is a student leader for her church and spokesperson promoting abstinence. Something Dawn feels incredibly strong about, a view not shared by her older stepbrother Brad (John Hensley). Who spends his days lounging around and messing around with his girlfriend Melanie (Nicole Swahn), while living off his parents.One night after a youth meeting Dawn meets Tobey (Hale Appleman) and the two share an immediate attraction. After a date at a swimming hole with their mutual friends, Dawn decides to break off the friendship due to the temptation when they’re together. Tobey agrees and the two stop seeing each other… for like a hot second. Then Dawn breaks and asks to see Tobey again. The two meet at the swimming hole where they went on their date. The pair swims inside a cave to get warm and start making out. Dawn asks Tobey to stop, he doesn’t and Dawn hits her head on the ground while fighting back. Tobey takes the opportunity to start rapping Dawn, who quickly comes to and starts fighting back. Then her vagina bites off Tobey’s dick. He screams, she screams, he falls into the water and Dawn GTFO’s. After an abstinence dance Dawn, who is struggling with the fact she was raped, meets Ryan (Ashley Springer), who drives her home.Dawn decides to go see a Gynecologist fearing she may have Vagina Dentata. The Dr. takes advantage of her innocence to molest her during her examination, using an un-gloved hand. Dawn panics knowing something not right and bites off the Dr. fingers. After the police find Tobey’s body in the swim, having died of shock or bled out, Dawn decides to turn herself in. She goes to Ryan, who gives her drugs and coerces her into sex. Since Dawn is both drugged and willing Ryan manages not to get his dick bit off. The next morning while having sex again, Ryan answers the phone. He informs the other person that he won the bet and has Dawn talk into the phone. He tells Dawn that he had a bet for who would have her first. Angered, Dawn bites of Ryans dick and leaves him to call his mom for help. When she returns home, she finds her mother collapsed and her brother ignoring her while having sex with his girlfriend. Brads father tries to throw him out for this, but Brad sicks his dog on him and confesses his love for Dawn, his stepsister. At the hospital, Dawn finds her step dad wounded with Melanie, who tells Dawn the Brad told her to ignore Dawn’s mother’s cries for help. Resulting in Dawn returning home to confront her step brother…
The issue I have with this movie I feel bad being so upset about. It’s just this film depiction of every man, with the sole exception of Dawn’s step father being a rapist. I know there’s a whole element the film is addressing that sex can and/or is a weapon. But out of this films cast of men that interact with her, a grand total of two don’t try anything. TWO! Dawns friend that’s dating her other friend and her dad. Both of her romantic interests, her Dr, even the old man who picks her up hitchhiking. I mean her brother didn’t, and that’s the only time Dawn initiates sex. But John Hensley did such a good job making Brad despicable, I can’t even consider his character human.
The evolution of Dawn’s character is incredibly interesting to watch. Dawn is a character that makes a complete character transformation from when we first see her, two the last shot of the film. I feel that Jess Weixler delivered a complex and nuanced performance and am a little upset that I never heard about it. All I had heard was about “girl has teeth in her vagina” was the grand sum of what any said about it.
Final thoughts, Teeth is a good movie. Sure, there’s weird moments of overacting and a times the films internal logic doesn’t make sense. But, it’s well written, well acted and might actually have something to say. I just can’t get past all men are rapists and I feel bad about that. I know that’s not the message Mitchell Lichtenstein was wanting to send, or at least I hope it’s not. It just happens to be the message I got and for that reason alone, I give Teeth the unfair rating of 4/10.