January 21, 2007

Sundance. Teeth.

Teeth "In Teeth [site], writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein takes a kicky premise - that Dawn has the fabled vagina dentata - and pushes it to absurdly gory campy extremes," writes Annie Frisbie at Zoom In Online. "[Jess] Weixler plays her part perfectly straight, and this no-winking performance makes the movie wickedly funny. Amid the laughs, Lichtenstein manages to convey the horror of rape in a visceral way that's harder to watch than the no-holds-barred graphic castrations (yes, more than one)."

"Lichtenstein has taken an outrageous concept and realized it with his own blend of campy humor, splatter gore, and emotional realism," writes Filmmaker's Scott Macaulay. "Props to lead actress Jess Weixler too."

"If Lichtenstein's aim with his mixed-bag horror comedy was to bring the fear of vaginal dentate to life, he succeeded fantastically," writes Steve Ramos at indieWIRE. "As far as achieving the perfect balance of comedy, horror and coming-of-age satire, Lichtenstein comes up slightly short. Still, to his credit, he set his bar very high." Like Scott Macaulay, he's reminded of David Cronenberg, only here, "Cronenberg's cerebral cynicism has been replaced with coming-of-age sensibilities and playful pokes against the religious right."

David Poland breaks into song.

Updates, 1/22: "Think of it as a mix of Superman and Scream, with a side of Mothra," suggests Jennifer Hillner at Wired News. "To me, Dawn's a modern day superhero, biting the penis off any baddie in her path. You go girl!"

"[I]t takes a good deal of talent to take an outrageous idea and turn it into a effective, entertaining and weirdly powerful experience," writes Scott Weinberg at Cinematical. "Teeth (against all odds) ends up being one of the most witty, intelligent and darkly insightful looks at young womanhood since Lucky McKee's brilliant May. (And how strange and admirable is it that both of these movies comes from male writer/directors?)"

"Lichtenstein is clearly a director with vision and ambition, and I think he ends up selling himself a little short," proposes Salon's Andrew O'Hehir. "This is going to be a notorious film that young audiences will be daring themselves to see, but it's actually funnier, darker and more troubling before it turns into a carnival of repeated dismemberment."

Updates, 1/26: IndieWIRE interviews Lichtenstein.

Picked up by TWC and Lionsgate. (Variety).

Reid Rosefelt introduces his video interview with Lichtenstein at Zoom In Online: "Howard Karren of Premiere pointed out to me that Teeth is a kind of upside down horror film. Usually the sexuality in a scary movie is in the subtext. The teenagers screw and then the guy in a mask or with knives on his fingers comes in and slashes 'em. In this film, writer/ director Mitchell Lichtenstein eliminates the middleman and gets right to it."

Update, 1/27: Mike D'Angelo at ScreenGrab: "The film delivers as many bloody penile stumps as anybody could possibly desire, but that's all it delivers."

Update, 1/29: Tom Hall: "The film is intentionally hilarious and had the audience howling at the long string of castrations, but as a record of male behavior and representation, it is pure pathology. I was reminded of Ginger Snaps, a terrific and little seen Canadian horror film about a young woman's coming of age that applies the same winking sense of humor, but truth be told, no film in recent memory will have men squirming in their seats and women snickering like I expect Teeth will."

Beth Gilligan at Not Coming to a Theater Near You: "[B]eneath the movie's bright-surface lurks a dark feminist fable about the consequences of objectifying women."

Coverage of the coverage: The Park City Index.

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Posted by dwhudson at January 21, 2007 9:39 AM