My humble offering tonight is the 2007 movie Teeth.
I’m really conflicted about this movie. I really, really wanted to like it, for realsies. Unfortunately, some parts were so ham-handed and wink-nudge-look-how-we’re-totally-a-horror-movie that I started to get really annoyed. Can’t there be an earnest contemporary horror movie? I think that this movie could have been really good if it played its premise straight but there were all these Danny Elfman-esque music cues and it was all very Edward Scissorhands-Lite, as if to say, “Look how quirky we are!”
Is it a coincidence that the teenage girl with vagina dentata, Dawn O’Keefe, is named after an artist known for her suspiciously vaginal paintings? I don’t know.
Dawn is part of a group of teenagers involved in the abstinence-only movement. I try not to let my politics mix with this blog but I really could not stand these smug, sanctimonious teenagers, especially when they started talking about how your vagina is like a present. The filmmakers created this superior tone as if to say, “Look at these goofy people” but there are people in America that really believe that rubbish. THAT is scary. Well, also the public dollars going to fund abstinence programs. But I digress…
Dawn’s killer vagina dentata springs into action after an attempted rape by a member of the abstinence gang. Where else is there to go after you see a high school boy bleeding out from where his penis used to be? All the men that Dawn encounters–with the exception of her stepfather who seems like a genuinely nice guy–are out to exploit her, from the gynecologist she visits to the guy from her school who bets he can bed her and her bad-boy stepbrother, Brad. Brad looks like a Hot Topic barfed on him, that’s how you know he’s bad. This is a rather bleak view of masculinity that ultimately left me sad. I guess it was worth it to see what happened to the gynecologist.
There’s no real explanation given for Dawn’s anatomy. There are a bazillion shots of the nuclear cooling towers in the town and there’s a heavy-handed class lecture about evolution. Ha! As if any American high school discusses evolution.
The movie does improve noticeably towards the end when Dawn learns to control her power and becomes empowered by her sexuality. Alas, it’s too little, too late. It left me yearning for the movie that could have been. The gore was well-done and I wished they had gone the grindhouse/exploitation route. Imagine if Dawn always knew she was different and teamed up with a hooker with a heart of gold to take down a serial-killer preying on the working girls? Now THAT’S a movie.
Ultimately, I wish the filmmakers had trusted the audience enough to understand their jokes and allusions. I just really can’t recommend this movie, although it was acceptable enough entertainment to knit to.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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