Best Movies of All Time + [Teeth]

TEETH

TEETH
R

Teeth is a 2008 black comedy and horror film directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein. It centers around a teenage girl who has a mutated vagina (yes, that's my opening line; I dare you to keep reading). Dawn O'Keefe (Jess Weixler) is the poster girl for chastity in her small town, quickly becoming the voice of abstinence in the community. When her friends introduce her to fellow purity advocate Tobey (Hale Appleman), however, some stirring feelings start to develop between them. After much deliberation, Dawn allows Tobey's advances ever so slightly but blocks him from proceeding with anything too far. Angered, Tobey takes the opportunity to rape Dawn, but this ends with dire consequences. Dawn quickly learns that she has a genetic mutation known in mythology as vagina dentata, which translates to "toothed vagina," and the only way that it can be tamed is for a "hero to conquer" it. When Tobey dies as a result of his sustained injuries - I'll let your mind wander on that one - Dawn goes to a boy named Ryan (Ashley Springer), a boy who has chased after her for some time, for help...

As you saw in the trailer, Teeth has been called "the most alarming cautionary tale for men since Fatal Attraction," and although I have yet to see that particular film - blasphemy, I know - I know enough about it to solemnly agree. I've known about Teeth since its initial run in film festivals, but I've put off actually watching it until now for fear of seeing the actual acts committed in the movie (fortunately, we don't ever see the actual severing, but we do see the rather graphic aftermath). It took a little bit of coaxing from a friend to finally give Teeth a chance, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Although I found the comedy to be a little bit lacking - it is black humor, which tends to be very hit-or-miss for most people - I was definitely drawn into the story and the happenings on-screen.

The acting isn't really much to rave about, but we do get a rather strong performance from our lead actress, Miss Weixler. In the beginning of the film, I was a little put off by her acting ability, but as the movie continued to progress, I found myself more and more enthralled with Dawn O'Keefe. I think that Weixler does a very good job with completing the character arc that takes her from a purity-inspired youth to a sexual deviant in the most drastic definition of the term. We also get some decent performances from some of the supporting cast. Springer brings a bit of comic relief, which is good considering we've witnessed quite a bit of carnage by the time his story really picks up. John Hensley (of "Nip/Tuck" fame) also does well as Dawn's brother. But this really is Jess Weixler's vehicle, so give her a chance to really make an impact; I guarantee she'll deliver by the end credits.

I'm not quite sure what else I can say about this movie. As a man, it's definitely a tough watch - I found myself cringing along with the male characters who are subjected to such...dastardly deeds. In a way, Teeth is a bit of a feminist venture that's really all about female empowerment, and it's all given through the eyes of Dawn O'Keefe. She starts out as a pro-chastity teenager, essentially denying her male peers their one true goal in life: sexual relations. By the end of the movie, she's taking that goal away from them consciously and with much more finality. There's a lot to say about feminine strength in this one, and that may draw more women into a movie they'd ordinarily ignore. I'm not quite sure what the target audience is for Teeth; I enjoyed it, but I just felt like it wasn't really geared towards someone like me. Who knows. It's still worth a watch, but fellas: proceed with caution.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: C+
1 Thumb Up
Addition to Awards