This indie horror/dark comedy is an entertaining enough film that has some funny moments and saves itself from being an atrocious mess by simply letting us know it is in on the joke as well.
Now, that isn’t to say that the film doesn’t do a good job at being a coming of age film for our main character Dawn (Jess Weixler). Dawn is a virgin, in fact she preaches abstinence to children at lectures for schools and has promised to save herself till marriage. The new boy of the group has promised the same as well, and causes some funny feelings in Dawn causing her to doubt her fidelity to her promise late at night. To make matters worse, her step-brother at home is quite the creepier and he looks at Dawn a bit to fondly if you catch my drift, he is also a huge tool and incredibly disrespectful to the women in his life. Dawn is also the object of one boy’s affection as well, and the only one boy who doesn’t give off the creeper vibe in her life.
Now the catch to the film, which I haven’t really touched on yet, is the fact that Dawn also may or may not have teeth in her vagina. Vagina Dentata is the technical term for this affliction and the thought of this not only scares her for her future sexual partner, but whether or not she will be able to share her gift of love with anyone ever. And without ruining the obvious, she will find out what she is made of and with that she finds that most men she encounters are not the kindest and tend to take advantage of her.
Through these experiences, Dawn learns that her sexuality is hers to share, and not to be abused by anyone. The films message in fact is quite good for woman, in that no one should let anyone take advantage of them, while also finding a mans true intentions as they can be deceiving. And with that said, the consequences for those that don’t respect women in this film are grave, brutal, disgusting, and disturbingly hilarious. There is some great comedy interjected into this film and it keeps the film watchable due to its almost winking at the camera nature of the humor.
With that said, the film does have some drawbacks, it does tend to drag in a couple of spots, the low budget feel of the film will detract quite a few, the third act has an almost appalling plot device involving Dawn’s mother and her step-brother, and what is up with those nuclear towers. Also, the gore while humorous and absurd, will rub many, especially males the wrong way.
The acting in the film is decent enough as well, with all the men playing their part well enough if at all one dimensional. Jess Weixler is quite the find though, creating a strong character that turns essentially into a woman’s empowerment superhero. Her arc from awkward Christian abstinent girl, to sexual abusing the bad men of the world is solid, and she does a great job of capturing the humor in the part as well. In fact, her work makes the film watchable, and I am intrigued to see what she does in the future from her solid start here.
In the end, Teeth, is a decent attempt at blending humor and horror, and while the films actors, outside Weixler, and budget hold it back from being something truly special. It is an interesting start to both the filmmaker Mitchell Lichtenstein and Jess Weixler’s careers and is worth the watch if you catch it on cable. Though be warned on the absurdity and twistedness of the film, as it isn’t for everyone, but take solace in knowing that the film knows what it is and never tries to act like it is anything more then that.