Teeth (2007)

teeth_4Starring Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman, Lenny von Dohlen, Vivienne Benesch, Ashley Springer, Laila Liliana Garro, Nicole Swahn

Directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein

Expectations: Not much.

threestar


When you sit down to watch a horror movie about a teenage girl with teeth in her vagina, I think it’s a fair assumption to expect something trashy. But Teeth is surprisingly not trashy, even with a couple of trashy characters and some truly gruesome gore moments. The key is that the focus of Teeth is never on the horror, in fact it’s wrong to even think of this as a horror movie. If anything it’s a reverse horror film, where the girl is equipped to deal with her attackers. What she isn’t quite equipped to deal with, just like the men in the story, is her sexuality.

Dawn (Jess Weixler) is a leader for her school’s promise ring program, where kids promise they’ll remain abstinent until marriage. During one of her talks, she locks eyes with a boy her age and they have an instant spark. They begin a relationship, and, knowing the premise of the film, it’s not hard to put two and two together to figure out where it leads. But this relationship isn’t the core of the film, it is merely the jumping off point for Dawn’s growth as a woman.

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Quick Takes: Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Red Riding Hood, Safe Men

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)

Starring Phil Caracas, Murielle Varhelyi, Maria Moulton, Tim Devries, Ian Driscoll, Josh Grace, Tracy Lance, Glen Jones, Mike Funk
Directed by Lee Demarbre

This one’s not even close to being a B-Movie, it’s more like a D-Movie, but it does have its moments. Jesus on a moped, God speaking to his only begotten son through a bowl of ice cream and cherries, the arrival of Santo in a small aeroplane, etc. Santo gained some weight though, which might explain why he’s not driving that sporty convertible around any longer. There’s a lot of “kung fu” fight scenes and over every one, there’s an inane techno track that ruins any goodwill the scene itself might have had prior. Not that the fights are good. While watching I couldn’t imagine that these filmmakers would ever do anything else, so I was very surprised to learn that I had actually seen another of this dude’s movies, the 2009 horror movie Smash Cut. I liked that one pretty well, so I guess if your first feature looks like it was made by a no-talent hack, you can still grow into a passable filmmaker. Who knew?

Red Riding Hood (2011)
(No Stars)

Starring Amanda Seyfried, Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke, Julie Christie, Shiloh Fernandez, Gary Oldman, Max Irons, Michael Shanks, Christine Willes, Michael Hogan, Lukas Haas
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

This movie is fucking awful in every imaginable way. No redeeming value whatsoever. Literally the equivalent of gouging out your own eyes, Red Riding Hood should be a shoe-in for every category of the 2011 Razzies.

Safe Men (1998)

Starring Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Michael Lerner, Paul Giamatti, Michael Schmidt, Christina Kirk, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Pais, Harvey Fierstein
Directed by John Hamburg

Safe Men is a fair enough movie, but it could have been so much more. It’s basically a bunch of crime film clichés strung together in a wholly unbelievable way, which I’m OK with, but instead of providing lots of laughs and making itself stand out from the crowd, it flounders in mediocrity. At times it is amusing, with great supporting performances from Michael Lerner and Paul Giamatti, but mostly it is ho-hum. The music, while good, is often used poorly, sounding like they used what they could get instead of what worked with the scene. The Bar Mitzvah scene and the followup party are the film at its funniest, but because it’s so middle-of-the-road up to those points, many viewers may not make it that far.

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