Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Days: Teeth (2007)

Revisiting Teeth, after having seen it over a year ago, I was struck by how god damned funny the picture is, an element that mostly escaped me the first time. Of course, a large part of one's appreciation of a film depends on their mood at the time they watch it. Perhaps, the first time I expected something more horror-ish, intense, whatever. There are several laugh out loud moments strewn throughout and, thankfully, they were all intentional. This isn't camp or any shit like that. It's all played pretty straight.

We're introduced to a high school student named Dawn (a terrific performance by Jess Weixler). She's a spokesperson for a group of christian virgins called "The Promise". She wears unicorn tee shirts. Her home life is a little off despite a loving mother (terminally ill) and stepfather. Her stepbrother, Brad, has been in love with her since they were little. Dawn, however, is not like most girls. For one, she doesn't put out. Also, she's got teeth in her vagina which, at first, she's unaware of since she's a virgin.

Well, shit, all the guys in this thing are assholes. Dawn meets a "nice" guy at one of her meetings. They go to the movies. The "R" rated picture isn't even a consideration, the "PG-13" one could likely have scenes of making out, so they settle on some "G" rated thing (we don't see the picture, sounds like looney tunes). Later, they go to a swimming hole, Dawn's friend points out a cave where people go to do "you know". Then they leave. It's all perfectly innocent. Dawn might be in love, fantasizes about marrying Tobey while in bed, feels something tingle...and reaches down...

This leads to guilt, humiliation, proclamations of "we can't see each other anymore", and finally, a rendezvous at the swimming hole where Dawn leads Tobey to that cave. Things progress a bit. There's some kissing and then Dawn says they should go. Tobey relents (a little), then freaks out ("I haven't jerked off since Easter!"), hits her, and carries on. Dawn comes to with him doing his business when suddenly there's a crunching sound, Tobey screams, his dick falls off, he goes into the water, and we never see the guy again. Dawn, for a while, convinces herself that she imagined it. She even goes back to the cave later and is shocked to see, in a great visual gag, a crab eating Tobey's penis. After researching vaginal mutations on, where else, the internet, she pays a visit to the gynecologist (another male scumbag) who does things like lube up all his (glove less) fingers to "test for elasticity". Later, as he writhes on the floor, clutching his fingerless hand he starts screaming "it's true! Vagina Dentata!"

Fuck, I never thought I'd enjoy a man-hating movie this much. I guess it's because it's hard to take it all seriously. Dawn's stepbrother Brad (John Hensley) gives great support. He's the worst of the worst. He still lives at home, doesn't work, mooches off his parents, smokes weed in his room, flirts with his stepsister, and bangs his girlfriend doggie style to her chagrin ("you know, I have a perfectly good pussy"). The guys idea of a joke is to hide naked in the shower while Dawn is brushing her teeth and surprise her when she tries to get in saying "I got you bitch". It's a little uncomfortable. Even more uncomfortable is the opening scene where Dawn and Brad (as young children) sit in a kiddie pool and somehow Brad ends up with a chewed up finger. Not sure how that happened.

As bad as Brad is, Dawn's "friend" Ryan isn't much better. Her supposed "hero" is good at telling women what they want to hear. She buys it, they have successful sex in his bedroom, a converted garage. Of course, this is after he pines her with alcohol and she comes to with him using some sort of stimulating device on her. Somehow, she accepts it. Later, during even more coitus, he answers his phone. Turns out he won a bet. In a later scene, during surgery, the doctor looks at Ryan's detached penis and comments "it hardly seems worth it". That's the last joke I'll spoil. There are many more.

How exactly does one get teeth to grow in their vagina? Well, I don't know? Maybe has something to do with those giant pollution emitting smoke stacks looming over Dawn's home? Or, perhaps she really is a mythical creature in need of a "hero" to save her. I guess the teeth are the villains and need conquering.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through the trials and tribulations of discovering ones sexuality and then biting off dicks with it. Well, maybe "romp" isn't the most fitting term here. It's a "horror" picture in the sense that kids are losing their dicks and we see the results. There's some gore here. There isn't much in the way of scares, but it's not really that kind of picture. A scene involving a dog and a severed penis goes a little too far, in my opinion. That one hurt. None of this would work without the note perfect performance of Jess Weixler who is reminiscent of early Wynona Ryder. Actually, this one reminded me a lot of Heathers and just a little of Deadgirl. If I was still in high school it might make me consider that jerking off is actually a viable alternative to getting laid. Fuck, I'm sure I'd still take my chances (not that I ever did).


elmo said...

The scene in the doctor's office is pretty absurd. And the rape in the cave.

Dave said...

I was kind of hoping this one would have a happier story arc for Dawn. You know, she finally meets a guy who ISN'T a horrible rapist and learns to cope with her "gift". The direction they decided to take it made me kind of miserable.

brian said...

I do agree Dave, although she seems pretty content (based on the last scene with the disgusting old man - when she smiles) to use her gift to help rid the world of assholes. Maybe a sequel?

Dave said...

Yeah, I understand why they did it that way. She basically becomes the Punisher with a vagina dentata, and when I put it like that it makes me want to see a sequel even more.