Even though Teeth was only made in 2007, I can tell that it was from a whole other time period when I see review blurbs labelling it “feminist” in some way. There are no smartphones, no social media, and the main character, Dawn (Jess Weixler) wears baggy bootcut jeans instead of skinny ones.
Our movie begins with toddler Dawn and her slightly older wicked stepbrother Brad sitting in a paddling pool. They hate each other. It’s implied that he reveals himself to her, then when she’s coerced into doing the same, suddenly we cut to his bleeding finger. It’s assumed that she bit him, and then we fast-forward to present day – Dawn’s the goodiest of the goody two-shoes, a good student and an active member of her conservative school’s abstinence club (Why would you need a club for that? Is it the opposite of sex clubs? What does one do at such clubs? Not watch porn together? What are sex clubs, even?). Meanwhile, her stepbrother (John Hensley) is a metal-blasting, tattooed, pierced, Rottweiler-owning, bong-smoking, skank-banging stereotype of a bad son.
Despite that, it’s going well for Dawn until sensitive, soft-spoken new kid Tobey (Hale Appleman) joins the school and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Mindful of their abstinence vows, they gradually develop a friendship, which then goes from tender romantic kindling to full-on assault and rape during a lake swimming trip. And he was such a nice guy. They always are. Luckily for Dawn, the teeth in her vagina that she forgot she had (and used to bite Brother Perv at the start of the movie) promptly/accidentally noms off Tobey’s sexually violent, undeserving cock.
Maybe I should feel awful about this, but this is where the black comedy starts to creep in. The looks on both Dawn’s and Tobey’s faces when they realise his knob’s been munched off (and not in the good way) are priceless, even though the scares and gore are played fairly straight. Things only get darkly funnier when Dawn tries to talk to others about her problem, including her doctor.
With its tone and soundtrack, it feels a little dated (most kids would look up myths on Wikipedia rather than read about it in a book), and most of the supporting characters are one-note, Jekyll and Hyde plot devices – though their turncoat natures aren’t implausible. Stuff like this really happens. Every day.). What is implausible to the point of distracting is Brad’s character. He’s a metal kid stereotype who I can’t imagine would seriously be living in his parents’ house acting the way he does, yet so much screen time is devoted to him without fleshing out his character beyond some douchebag tool of a dick that’s designed to be Dawn’s antagonist, and nothing else.
The plot has a tiny prick of gender equality commentary in a throwaway scene about censorship in biology textbooks, but for the most part it’s a pretty much your standard transmogrification horror with some high school drama attached. Which is a shame, but it’s a short movie, so I suppose there wasn’t much room made for anything else.
I’ve seen some neckbeard complaints about the violence against schlongs in this movie. Funny, considering that said violence is issued towards the type of guys who contribute to a fair few statistics, such as that 1 in 6 American women will be raped in her lifetime, or that 80% of victims knew their rapist, or that 1 in 33 American men have committed rape in their lifetime. Not trying to reverse gender equality or justify the violence, but it helps to have a bit of perspective when making these kinds of complaints willy-nilly.