This past week I watched the movie Teeth, a horror/black comedy flick directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein and starring relative newcomer Jess Weixler. It's been out for about a year and has been making the rounds of various film festivals across the country. It's also been getting talked up a lot on a bunch of blogs and horror-related websites I read so I added it to my Netflix list.
Weixler plays Dawn, a pretty, perky high school girl who's obsessed with keeping her virginity until marriage. I say obsessed because it's all she talks about. Dawn's also part of group that preaches and pulpit-pounds like the most ardent Christian Revivalist Minister. But being a high school girl she gets led astray anyway. Dawn is the victim of date rape when she discovers she has Vagina Dentata, or a set of teeth down inside her genitalia. The rapist is mortally wounded when he loses his own genitalia mid-coitus; things then speed up and get stranger as more people die, an OBGYN loses a hand and the story takes some odd turns into matricide, fratricide and incest.
While I love the concept, the delivery left me a bit bewildered. What I think they were going for was a horror/comedy in the same vein as Kentucky Fried Movie, while also poking fun at things like teen comedies and having a bit of fun with social mores. But it just didn't work for me.
I blame it partly on the cheesy dialogue and partly on the acting----there really was no discernible talent in anyone save with some small moments with Weixler. But mostly I blame the direction. After the first incident you can see the jokes and the scares coming from a mile away. The bar is never really raised and the joke stays pretty much the same throughout the movie. Some more accomplished techniques and a tighter plot could have at least raised the tension level a bit. But when Dawn's dates are wounded and they start screaming I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be horrified, shocked or amused. In the end I wasn't any of those things. If I was anything, I was bored.