Year: 2007
Production Co: Teeth
Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Producer: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Writer: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Cast: Jess Weixler
An absolutely brilliant dark comedy about the issues facing us all when women in the flower of youth feel adulthood pressing on them from the inside out.

Dawn (the gorgeous, luminous Jess Weixler) is a repressed teen who subscribes to the 'promise' ring school of religious thought, determined to stay a virgin until she marries.

But Dawn's at a tricky age where her body is starting to tell herself things her pure soul can't control or ignore, such as when she develops a yearning for a boy in her church group.

When things go too far for her liking in a Garden of Eden-like lakeside waterfall (one of many sly thematic nods) he pays the ultimate price thanks to Dawn's 'condition' of vagina dentate, the mythology-rich presence of a set of teeth in her vagina.

As Dawn struggles to come to terms with her newfound curse/power, more victims fall screaming at her feet. That makes it sound like a garish gory horror movie, and no doubt the sight of a dog chowing down on a severed and dismembered penis is worse than most of the sights you'll get from the average splatter film, but writer/director Lichtenstein is more interested in the characters and the themes.

It's a slickly shot movie with a great character arc and the religious and sexual symbolism runs deep. Dawn starts out feeling her body is some strange landscape that somehow doesn't belong to her or has its own power, and her complete transformation in the final frames as she gives her final dark, come-hither look is that of a woman who's not only learnt that strange and destructive power but is in complete and comfortable control of it.

The symbolism of the various severed members is obvious, but you could watch Teeth a dozen times and pick up another ancient, gender-based fear or faith-based motif on every viewing.

There's been some comment on the acting, but Weixler seemed perfect in every scene. Despite her beauty (somewhere between Kate Winslet and Heather Graham), something about her makes her endlessly watchable and I can't wait to see more of her.

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