Vagina dentata–Latin for toothed vagina. Does this not sound incredibly insane? Mitchell Lichtenstein directs this amazingly fresh piece of gore horror mixed with undertones of black comedy. The main character Dawn is flawlessly executed by Jess Weixler, and Dawn’s brother Brad is played by Nip/Tuck star John Hensley. Teeth takes place in your typical quaint neighborhood (which ironically offsets Dawn’s atypical condition), but Dawn’s life is anything but typical.
The movie begins with a panoramic view of the quiet neighborhood but don’t get too comfortable yet. Lichtenstein quickly delves into the obscene having Brad and Dawn play in a kiddie pool as children. Brad, being the distraught and eccentric child, exposes himself to his younger sister and then asks Dawn to expose herself. Brad is bitten on the finger after attempting to molest her. Teeth fastforwards to Dawn’s teenage years where promiscuous sex has become the epitome of teenage pop culture. Dawn, however, is waiting to devote herself to her knight in shining armor (after getting married, of course). This changes when she meets Tobey (played by Hale Appleman). Dawn attempts to brainwash herself with reoccurring thoughts of purity, but the hormonal temptation between the two teens is just too much. What starts out as innocent kissing quickly spirals out of control. Ultimately, Dawn becomes a target for male domination. Tobey’s dominance endeavor falls short after his penis is bitten in half…by Dawn’s vagina. Obviously Dawn is apalled with her vaginal “adaptation” and decides to research her particular ailment. This is the part where Dawn discovers she is living proof of a widespread cultural myth. Her vagina happens to possess teeth closely related to those of a shark (a scene with two doctors relays this bit of information), however, the crown/enamel is most similar to a human. Many more “accidents” occur as Dawn slowly slips from the world of the prudes into the world of the sexually active.
The tagline for this film is nothing short of genius. “Every rose has its thorns” perfectly captures the essence of Teeth with symbolic wit. When we think of roses we think of love, of innocence, of purity. This depicts Dawn’s character before she becomes a sex machine. The “thorn” could very well symbolize Dawn’s vaginal dentata condition, but it could also represent Dawn’s virtuous life spiraling out of control. The tagline in itself is enough to make you grab this DVD off the shelf and take a peek.
Now for my favorite part…the gore. Although you never catch a glimpse of the toothed vagina, there are plenty of severed bloody penises abound for the average gore whore to get their kicks. Will it make a guy queasy? Oh, most certainly, but that’s what’s so great about it! This movie is one parable every man should watch no matter how painful. The men Dawn engages with present a false facade only to morph into a man that fits the common male stereotype (that most men are jackasses). Little do they know Dawn is prepared for the ultimate revenge. The lesson of the film? Don’t mess with innocence…and don’t piss girls like Dawn off at all.
Teeth gives a fantastically fresh face to the horror genre and should instantly become a cult classic amongst the youth. Some may say the story drags a bit. Nevertheless, the film did not disappoint as I was entertained for the entire duration. I was extremely surprised this film did not receive a NC-17 rating, but nowadays a PG movie can slip a curse word or two. However, this film does push the envelope (that’s why I love it). See this smash hit and brag to your friends how you were able to sit through the entire thing.