After making its debut at 2007's Sundance Festival, "Teeth" is now making its way into theatres. The tag line is both vague and witty, "Every rose has its thorns."
High school student Dawn is adamant about maintaining her chastity, to the point of speaking to her peers about the virtue of remaining pure. When Dawn meets new-to-the-school Tobey, she's drawn to him -- more over because he defends her decision of abstinence when other students laugh at her. Her home life isn't too easy-going, either; her mom is dying and her stepbrother, Brad, is more fixated on loud metal music and doing the deed with his girlfriend.
Dawn begins to fantasize about Tobey, and when he invites her to a popular make-out spot at the lake one day, she goes. There's a bit of cuddling and kissing, but she hits her head and Tobey takes advantage of her. When she regains conscious, she finds herself in a rather compromising position under Tobey, but a seemingly mythical condition, "vagina dentata ends the encounter before Tobey does so voluntarily.
It's a curious sort of film, whether it's a comedy with a bit of horror or a horror film with a humorous twist. And all the more impressive, the film is true to the spirit of Sundance: this is producer/director/writer Mitchell Lichtenstein's first big leap into a feature film. Dawn is played by Jess Weixler, also a newer face in a leading role on the big screen (after some work on TV and smaller roles), winning her a Special Jury Prize at 2007 Sundance.
Which doesn't quite mean it's a delightful little film that rivals the Hannah Montana flick that opened this week. MPAA noted this as containing "disturbing sequences involving sexuality and violence, language and some drug use." Well, yes, there's all of that, but in context, it's presented with comic value.
Not everyone agrees, and you may be hard-pressed to find it in local theatres. At least, so far. We had to trek out from the native stomping grounds to the quasi-alternate universe of Berkeley (CA) to find it showing in one of the artsy theatres.
For my money, it was $10 well spent. For those I went with, thumbs up all around. Maybe we're a goofy bunch, but clever, dark humor is always appreciated, and "Teeth" delivered on every front.