Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Teeth

Teeth
Starring:
Jess Weixler, Hale Appleman, Josh Pais and John Hensley


Rated: R for disturbing sequences involving sexuality and violence, language and some drug use
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: March 28, 2008 Released by: Roadside Attractions

An uneven horror movie with extreme cautionary pungency is Teeth, which empowers the line "every rose has its thorns". It's been called by at least one commentator as a "rape-revenge fantasy". It becomes increasingly not for the faint of heart.

This high school picture from tyro helmer Mitchell Litchtenstein centers on chastity-driven girl Dawn (Jess Weixler) in a group called "The Promise".

Life seems to be going well until a swimming class with another "Promise" member (Hale Appleman) exhibits a hormonal rush that leaves him a victim of her mythical condition, "vagina dentata".

Josh Pais is the unlucky gynecologist who substantiates what the visibly shaken Dawn fears about her "anatomical power". Teeth suggests that it might the result of exposure from a nearby atomic facility.

The rest of the story, which goes for some resolve besides stinging satire, involves some risky propositions by our heroine with a nice potential boyfriend and a low-life, punked-out stepbrother (John Hensley).

Perhaps the director could have made things easier for what this chastity poster girl is going through by balancing the gradual apprehension with a droller touch, especially in the early segments. It could have been more in the Election vein before getting more darkly humorous and graphic in the latter reels.

Nevertheless, as this is not something for the teen dating crowd with a incisive male phobia at the forefront, it may have some richer implications for those struggling with serious sexual issues.

Weixler is rather convincing as Dawn in serious turn that has bite to it, realizing the effects of something life-altering, through familial relations and at least one sequence more lurid and primal than most are willing to witness.

There is strong jaws to Teeth, an inconsistent salacious spoof, tatooed with more understanding of "safe sex" and the kind of special f/x that one might prefer to view in a more intimate climate.

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