Saturday, May 10, 2008
Being a guy I have to say that this may be the most disturbing concept for a horror movie I've ever seen...the story of a girl with teeth in her...well, you know.
The film is, at its core, about female sexual empowerment told through a strange mish-mash of disturbing horror and absurd comedy. I've included both prevelant Teeth posters to help show just how undecided the film's crew is on what story they're telling. One poster is a comedic, almost lighthearted, take on the story with emphasis on bright easy colors and a humorous "Sex Changes Everything" t-shirt. On the other hand is Teeth's horror inspired poster of star Jess Weixler mostly submerged in a tub accompanied by the film's distrubing yet really amusing tagline "Every Rose Has Its Thorns." I found the horror elements, especially as a guy, to be really deeply disturbing and effective; unfortunately I found the humor generally missed the mark. Feeling not dissimilar from a Grindhouse movie in some places, I think the film's comedic elements sort of undercut lead Jess Weixler's superb performance.
Jess Weixler is a revelation here adeptly balancing a meh screenplay, the horror-comedy dilemma and a believable portrayal of a young woman struggling with her growing sexuality. Weixler's character, not so subtlely named Dawn, is a leader of a school 'chastity club' respected by some peers and ridiculed by many others. Weixler's ease at making her potential (and, to her at least, disturbing) feelings for another classmate a believable emotional battle, generally without needing words to convey a vast array of emotions. Her performance is easily the most effective element of teeth.
The supporting players range in skill from tolerable to awful. Some of the actors, as an aside, are undercut in their performances by Lichtenstein's comedic elements. The most problematic performance is John Hensley (generally a decent enough, if relatively unlikeable, actor in the consistently disturbing F/X drama Nip/Tuck) as Dawn's step-brother. His character is so absurdly asinine and intolerable that his scenes consistently drag the film down.
It's an interesting movie, worth seeing once for Weixler's performance and for some actual creative horror (a rarity in the genre); just don't expect greatness. This is Mitchell Lichtenstein's first directorial effort and I certainly look forward to seeing what he can accomplish in the future.
Overall Score: 5/10