If pictures of untreated herpes outbreaks, horror stories about crab infestations, and Tom Hanks portrayal of a gay man with AIDS in Philadelphia isn’t enough to make you consider celibacy…perhaps this film will make you rethink. The premise of Teeth makes me shudder with terror. I thought the risks you take when having sex can be avoided with a condom, or a pill. It turns out this is not always true.
Teeth is a perfect blend of horror, thriller and black comedy. This film comes to us from director Mitchell Lichtenstein (Resurrection) via the Sundance Film Festival of 2007. Having received an extremely limited release in January of 2008, most people wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see it until the DVD was released.
The story serves as a disturbing and overzealous cautionary tale that would fit right in with those rumors about poor sight, and hairy palms as a result of too much ‘self-abuse.’ The film follows Dawn (Jess Weixler) who leads the ‘abstinence is cool!’ group at her high school. She fends off the mockery of her fellow classmates, and constantly reminds herself that it’s all about ‘purity.’ After meeting eyes with fellow abstainer Tobey (Hale Appleman), her thoughts have a harder time staying pure, which leads to her first pseudo-sexual encounter that leads to what would probably be referred to as date-rape. It’s here we learn that she has teeth…in her vah jay jay.
Women with teeth ‘down there’ show up in the tales of many societies. Usually it’s to express men’s fear of sex, women, and sex with women. Lichtenstein flips that around, and clearly makes this about a woman, terrified at discovering what her body is capable of. You’ll be terrified too. Believe me.
No matter what it’s about, this flick will gross you out. It’s rare that I psychically move while watching a movie, but while watching Teeth, I was constantly moved to drop my jaw or cover my face with my hands. It’s not an overstatement to describe this as shocking. This is, in large part, thanks to the completely disturbing subject matter, and also thanks to some terrific acting. Weixler is fantastic. Lichtenstein has a knack for making you cringe but that was always secondary to keeping the plot running smoothly. Check this out if you have a strong stomach.
Rated R for disturbing sequences involving sexuality and violence, language and some drug use.