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  Teeth The Vicious Circle
Year: 2007
Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Stars: Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman, Lenny von Dohlen, Vivienne Benesch, Ashley Springer, Julia Garro, Nicole Swahn, Adam Wagner, Hunter Ulvog, Ava Ryen Plumb, Trent Moore, Mike Yager
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Teenage Dawn (Jess Weixler) is a virgin, and not only does she wish to stay that way but she also wishes to advertise the fact in the hope that others will follow her example. To that end, she wears a so-called "promise ring" to ensure that everyone knows she is waiting until she is married until she has sex, and goes along to Christian meetings where she gives talks to youngsters about her choice in life and how they should follow her example. But Dawn has another reason why she should not be giving up her virginity to anyone who asks...

Although it became unfashionable more recently as the advances in special effects grew in leaps and bounds, there was a time in horror movies when filmmakers preferred not to show too much, keeping their monsters hidden, sometimes not even for a brief glimpse. These chillers were subtle and moody more often than not, but even in the works which followed in their footsteps the temptation was there to have their menaces pop up for a shot or two, because audiences expected at least some kind of payoff to see what the characters were dealing with.

Not so with writer and director Mitchell Lichtenstein's Teeth, where its fanged terror was resolutely kept offscreen for the entirety of the running time, and you had to use your imagination as to what it could possibly look like. We certainly saw what effects the monster had on other people, exclusively men in this case, but those hoping to see what the film was quite upfront about would be disappointed. Ironically, there was a scene where Dawn was in biology class and while the diagram of a penis was left for the students to see, the diagram of the female equivalent had been covered up with a sticker by the moralists on the school board.

That's right - Dawn has teeth where they really shouldn't be, and if you were unfamiliar with the enduring myth of the vagina dentata, then Lichtenstein was only too happy to fill you in on the finer points after his heroine looks up her condition on the internet and decides she needs a hero to conquer her unfortunate situation. But wait, isn't she meant to be a proud virgin? Well, she was until she made the mistake of going to a secluded spot with the boy she has romantic feelings for, one thing led to another and she was seduced, then when she decided she didn't want to go too far, he forced himself on her, which was his mistake.

Those teeth down below take the expected action and soon the boy is dead from the blood loss, and Dawn is racked with guilt, so visits a gynaecologist (Josh Pais) to see if there's anything that can be done, only to find the examination doesn't go too well. The metaphor for sexuality being something wild, uncontrollable and animalistic is hooked up to a satirical take on the idea of abstinence, and the film finds that nature is not something that is able to be hemmed in by morals, a conclusion many would have problems with, but here is presented within the indie comedy style. Really it's more that than it is a horror, although certain scenes will have the men in the audience crossing their legs, but that notion is so strong that it overwhelms what is rather mild humour otherwise. Emotional content is largely under consideration here, as Dawn suffers through her crises, including family troubles, but the ending might not be as happy as it seems. Music by Robert Miller.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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