Warning: This is an R-Rated review for an R-Rated flick.
So I’ve seen this movie a few times. The first time, I actually made the mistake of renting it. Subsequent times, I caught it on the IFC Channel when there was nothing better on. And I finally need to say my piece.
For those unfamiliar, Teeth is a 2007 “horror” movie. I added the quotation marks because, as others have pointed out before me, this is not a horror movie. This is a Lifetime Original Movie with a bit of extra blood. Watch it for gory rape-revenge, or for unintentional humor, but don’t expect to be scared.
Here’s the basic summary: Our Heroine is a Good Girl, by every possible definition. She’s pretty, sweet, and nice. She helps take care of her sick mother. She’s even a member of the local high school’s Christian Abstinence group.
This last reveals a certain discomfort with her own sexuality, but you can hardly blame her for that, since the entire movie consists of little more than every man or boy in a 20-mile radius (except her kindly-but-ineffectual stepfather) trying to rape, sexually assault, or otherwise take sexual advantage of her. Fortunately, Our Heroine has vagina dentata, so everything someone sticks into her vagina without her consent, they lose.
Seriously. That’s it. This happens over and over again. Don’t base a drinking game on someone trying to sexually abuse Our Heroine, because you will suffer permanent liver damage.
Near the end, Our Heroine’s brutish stepbrother is too busy having brutal sex with his brutalized girlfriend to come to the rescue when Sick Mother has an attack of her ill-defined sickness, and Sick Mother dies (or is left in a permanent coma, I forget don’t care). KBI Stepfather tries to throw Brutish Stepbrother out, but Brutish Stepbrother brutally assaults him. In response, Our Heroine – who Brutish Stepbrother has been creepily macking on all movie and who has in fact molested her before – seduces Brutish Stepbrother and bites him down to size. She runs away, hoping for some peace but obviously destined for a life of dick-biting vigilante justice. Because the first man she meets on the road is yet another rapist.
Bottom line: this should have been a horror comedy. Its premise is too absurd to be anything else. I think we’re supposed to believe that Our Heroine grew teeth and a lamprey-like biting sphincter in her vagina because she was bred and born literally in the shadow of a nuclear power plant. Which you may have been able to pull off in the Fifties or Sixties when radiation was essentially Magic Monster-Making Rays as far as the general public was concerned, but I don’t think even Troma has tried to pull that shit since the early Nineties. Even as I write this, I think it might be a horror comedy (I mean, we’re not really supposed to take lines like “I haven’t jerked off since Easter” seriously, are we? We were supposed to laugh at that, right?), but everything is done with such dreadful Lifetime earnestness.
I’ve never understood what was supposed to be so scary about vagina dentata anyway. Vulvas are just about the cutest, friendliest, most harmless feature of the human body. I understand that we didn’t really know what was going on up in there until relatively recently, but they’re still an odd choice of things to be afraid of. Even the attempt to make them legitimately dangerous is pretty weak. Let me tell you a secret…no, come closer…(whispers) men stick their wee-wees in orifices with teeth all the time. Teeth and jaws and the strongest muscles in the human body. Some men even pay for the privilege. Why do teeth suddenly become so scary when they’re put someplace where they’ll be objectively less dangerous?
Seriously, has anyone considered just how lousy a superpower vagina dentata actually are? There’s no actual defense against being raped – the wielder of the dentata has to be raped first. Then she bites the attacker’s dick (or whatever) off, leaving her with a cooch full of blood, which may protect her from pregnancy, but it probably much worse in terms of STD transmission. And don’t forget, not all men go into instant paralyzed shock when they take a hit to the groin. It takes a few seconds for the pain to really set in, and berserk rage is definitely an option.
And of course, the whole thing can be thwarted if an attacker has a taste for anal, as the Brutish Stepbrother does, providing the only tension at the…ahem…climax.
In sum, this movie was doomed from the get-go. If it had been played as the Troma-level horror comedy it was obviously destined to be, it would have been grossly misogynistic and exploitative. But since it was played with straight-faced, Lifetime Channel earnestness, it comes off as simply ridiculous. My advice: if Teeth on the IFC Channel is the best thing on, go read a book.