Teeth (2008) Movie Review
Article by SisterRoboto of lefthandhorror.com
Writer/Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group’s most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad’s increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth.
Anyone in the mood for a good ole’ fashioned black comedy horror film? How about a woman with powers beyond your greatest imagination? If so, than you should check out one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen… Teeth! Maybe unless you have a penis. Teeth in a nutshell is the surreal, quirky and clever story of the birth of an unlikely feminist superhero with a unique power. Dawn, a golden haired high school student, rosy and pure as her name, overcomes girlish fears to master the power of her adult female sexuality. All teens do this, but one small difference is that Dawn’s body is more unique than most. She soon discovers that her genitals come equipped with… choppers! The angelic-looking blonde draws followers like a moth to a flame. Her commitment to abstinence lifts her from the sadness of her dysfunctional home life. However, every horny high school boy around, including her slimy stepbrother, is just sniffing after her like a dog in heat. In response to some forceful and unwanted attention by some extremely unfortunate young men does the heroine in this twisted comedy/horror movie learn that she is in possession of a mythic vagina dentata (teeth of the vagina), threatening penises everywhere. What’s a resourceful modern teen girl to do except, oh, you know, make it work?
There are three bitten-off penises in plain sight, all three accompanied by close-up shots of the gaping wound. One of them, in the film’s most grotesque sight gag, plops onto the carpeted floor. 2007 gave us Quentin Tarantino’s melting junk in Planet Terror. Welcome to 2008! One of Dawn’s pursuers, handsome Tobey, uses his chastity club membership as a way to become close to Dawn in order to sleep with her. Big mistake Tobey. As they begin their romance, she briefly reconsiders her vow of chastity, but not before Tobey gets impatient and forces himself on her. I’m sure most people have heard the phrase, “touch me and you’ll pull back a bloody stump!” The scene of Tobey’s attack, takes these words to a whole other level. In her panic of what her vagina has done to Tobey, she quickly seeks medical advice. Poor Dawn makes an appointment with the most unethical gynecologist on the planet who takes advantage of her while she’s unable to see what he’s up to while examining her. Sadly for the sleazy doctor, what her eyes can’t see, other parts of Dawn’s anatomy have got well protected. Without spoiling much, I’ll just say that guy won’t be practicing again anytime soon.
Dawn’s deadly vagina predicament is looking pretty grim, until Ryan offers her a shoulder to cry on and a courageous penis to break through the fearsome wall of teeth. For the first time, Dawn is able to enjoy intercourse without Lorena Bobbiting her partner’s junk. Now she realizes that her affliction only surfaces when she is being threatened. Unfortunately, Ryan decides to reveal his true intentions halfway through that she was only a sexual conquest in a contest for school bragging rites. CHOP! Poor Ryan. Now she is in control.
As dreadful as this movie sounds, I had a blast watching it! Teeth was adventurous, imaginative, and hilarious. Before the movie’s release, there was a controversy over the subject matter and the idea of Vagina Dentata myth being brought front and center as the basis of the plot. That doesn’t bother me so much. I think this movie says something about the chastity movement in order to avoid dealing with her developing womanhood. All around her, female sexuality is regarded as a frightening thing, even at her school. Once this innocent girl is exposed to both the good and bad aspects of having sex, she learns – through some bizarre lessons – that she doesn’t have to be a victim. The teeth are just a bold metaphor for Dawn coming into womanhood, but wrapped in a plot of dark humor. I would love to watch this movie in a theatre full of men to see their reactions. I imagine there would be a lot of tightly crossed legs in the audience.
After Dawn has finally taken control of her body and mastered her power, she decides to never be victimized again. There is an unforgettable final scene where a scummy driver picks her up while hitchhiking her way out of the town. By the film’s end, Dawn has become a modern superhero for women, righting wrongs with the power of the vagina. A word of advice, you just cannot take this movie too seriously, have fun with it. It’s daring, funny and very original. Well… good or bad, crazy or shocking, I don’t write the movie scripts, I just write the reviews. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it! Grab a bunch of men and go see it, just make sure they have enough room to cross their legs. 🙂
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