20 May 2011
Flick Picks 19: Teeth
Hello, Streakers! Boog here, with the second part of this week's review for me. The 19 Flick Pick, 2007's Teeth. I have actually avoided watching this film since it's release, due to the subject matter. SPOILERS! But, now having watched it, I don't get what the huge deal is. Sure there are some rather graphic bits in it I will never be able to unsee, but at it's heart it's just another boring horror flick, just with more assholes, so you can emphasize with the main character, who, as it turns out, is completely justified in turning into a serial killer with mutant genitalia. This film is under the Dimension "Extreme" label, and it's obvious why. Directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein, which you won't recognize, as he's only directed one other feature, 2009's Happy Tears, which honestly doesn't look that interesting.
So, the film opens on a rather uninteresting and disturbing 3 minute sequence of two children, one boy, one girl, being not watched very well by the boy's father, and girl's mother. You see, they are getting married, and the boy doesn't seem to happy about it. That gets forgotten, however, as we get to watch implied child nudity, and then have implied child on child action, as the boy gets the tip of his finger bitten, and then we go to the credit sequence. Now, with that out of the way, we see a high school teenager, one Dawn O'Keefe, played here by Jess Weixler, who I haven't seen before now despite her being in a lot of TV and Film before and after this film, talking to a bunch of younger children as part of an abstinence outreach program. I have a bit of a problem here. Not that she's part of an abstinence program, that's her choice, I respect that. My problem is that because of this program, she is a rather bland, dull, stereotypical boring character, that I don't give a crap about the second after she is introduced. Not to mention her audience consists of 8th Grade, to as young as Third Grade, and she talks to the boys and mentions them fathering children. Oh well, skip that, you see, she has hormones now! She immediately falls for the new kid in school, and what follows is quite possible the slowest half hour of inane bullcrap ever. During which, the biggest thing that happens is that she and her friends go see a rated G animated kids flick at the theater, becuase "even the PG-13 will have heavy makeouts". Again, her decision, but it really makes me want to turn the film off it's so freaking dull.
So, the two realize they may have the hots for each other, and so call off their friend ship for all the five minutes it takes Dawn to realize she has hormones again and call him up. They swim to a local hidden makeout spot, and then starts my true problem with this movie. The guy basically tries to rape her, and we get our first encounter with the film's title character. We also get a shot of his crotch area, now just a bunch of red, before he jumps back into the water screaming. Dawn, traumatized in her own right, tries looking some stuff up from the internet, and quickly comes across what the problem is: she has what is known as a vagina dentata. Thanks to her living near a nuclear power plant, and that being only an implied reason, she has a mutant angry vagina that reacts to her emotional state and pain, and makes the rest of this movie rather insulting. You see, every male in the movie that isn't Dawn's stepdad, or attached to another girl, actively tries to force themselves onto the main character. Every. Single. One. Now, call me crazy, but I think there are millions of women out there who have never, and hopefully, will never have to go through something like that. I do, however, as someone who watches a lot of movies, realize the potential importance a rape scene, or even an attempted rape scene, can have on the story and characters represented in a movie. It can be the dark center of a female empowered revenge thriller, a driving impetus that either makes the character, filling them with the determination to rise above the event, or break them, making them even more vulnerable, in short, it can make even a shitty movie rise above itself through solid direction and an even more solid performance from the characters involved. Here, however, rape, or rape-like actions, are commonplace, and it really pisses me off, as it's only there to provide more gore and stupidity.
After her research, we find out that the first boy never made it back out of the water, and died. She then goes to a gynecologist, who, after learning it's her first visit to one, proceeds to take off a glove and shove most of his hand up there, losing four fingers in the process. She goes back home to find her mother on the floor, dead, her stepbrother obliviously screwing his girlfriend in the background. She runs off, and finds up to this point the only "nice guy" this film had outside of Dawn's father. He then proceeds to give her champagne, and screws her. She wakes up the next morning still there, happy to find someone she didn't kill or dismember right away, and starts screwing him again, when he gets a phone call, revealing him to be a douchebag who bet his friend he could take her virginity because of her involvement with the abstinence program.
This revelation has some rather predictable results, and she runs back to the hospital, finding her stepdad signing in for a neck wound he received at the hands of her stepbrother's dog. Oh, and it probably doesn't matter at this point, but the stepbrother has been harboring some rather twisted thoughts his and Dawn's relationship, pretty much since they met. Well, at the hospital, Dawn learns from the girlfriend that the stepbrother and her noticed her mother screaming on the floor, but ignored her on the stepbrother's insistence. Dawn now goes full on serial killer, going back to the house, intentionally dressing in an innocent white dress and make-up, and actively seduces him, running off again almost at once. She quickly packs and starts to hitchhike, and wouldn't you know it, the first person that picks her is a pervy old man that wont let her leave the car. She thinks for a bit, the smiles and turns back towards him, and at this point, I believe the film is seriously asking you to be happy at the birth of a serial killer. It's not that I have a problem with a sexually empowered female character. Exactly the opposite, in fact, from Mae West on. My problem here is them having to basically 'justify' the character being empowered at all, by making 95% of the film's male population borderline, if not actual, rapists. It's an uncomfortable film to watch, in an 'weird uncle you only meet at holidays and never alone' kind of way. Seriously, this thing is bad. I wouldn't say terrible, because at least it's a new premise, and what gore and blood effects you do see are well done, if played over the top, I guess in a lame attempt to get a laugh. Seriously though, avoid this movie, unless you view it with a large group (at least four or five people), with the mindset of an MST3K like get-together.