2007 / R

Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein

Writer: Mitchell Lichtenstein

Stars: Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Lenny von Dohlen


Since we don’t know each other very well, here’s a little tidbit of info about me: I’m sort of weird about teeth. I’ve had countless number of dreams about my teeth either breaking, shattering, crumbling, or just simply falling out. I have since learned these dreams are common and are typically associated with stress or anxiety. Whatever the meaning, I don’t really care – they’re horrible and we hates them. Suffice it to say, my frequent teeth-related dreams result in my discomfort during movie scenes involving similar imagery. Blood? Guts? Decapitations? You name it, I can watch it without a problem. Teeth, however? I’ll audibly voice my disgust and horror.

So with that out of the way…Teeth. You may be thinking, “but, Jamie, if you’re so grossed out by teeth stuff, why would you decide to watch a movie called Teeth?” That’s a great question and I thank you for asking. Part of being a lover of horror movies and all things horror means there’s a sick part of my psyche that enjoys being made to feel uncomfortable or grossed out. That’s just part of who I am. Plus, the synopsis of this movie intrigued me enough to want to watch it. I mean…really, a pro-abstinence, teenage girl learns she has been gifted with vagina dentata, allowing her to immediately and severely punish any uninvited peens or fingers?? What about that description doesn’t make one think this could be a clever and enjoyable satire?

That is not a sausage in the dog's mouth...

That is not a sausage in the dog's mouth...

As it turns out, I was mostly wrong and this was not really that clever and enjoyable of a movie, though it wasn't horrible. For those who are unawares, vagina dentata (Latin for “toothed vagina”) is a folk tale theme found in a handful of cultures. In Teeth, the main character, Dawn (played by Jess Weixler), is a happy teenager, committed to staying chaste until marriage (she’s even the leader of her school’s abstinence group). Like most of her teenage classmates, she is trying to cope with her newfound sexuality and uncooperative hormones. Unlike most of her teenage classmates, however, Dawn has razor-sharp teeth hidden within her lady-business. She eventually learns she is able to control her “adaptation”, but not until she renders at least one classmate (and attempted rapist) peenless. The rest of the movie follows Dawn on her road to sexual self-discovery, which, inevitably, means more severed wangs.

I can’t honestly say this movie was wholly terrible. Its one shining “pro” for me was the acting by Jess Weixler. I thought she was great as the lead, really exemplifying the cute yet complicated virgin that all the boys want. She had to work with a pretty uncomplicated character while basically pulling off being the focus of the entire movie and I think she did a bang-up job. Actually, I rather liked the entire cast. Jess’ dad, Bill, is played by Lenny von Dohlen (Harold Smith from Twin Peaks), and her repulsive step-brother, Brad, is played by John Hensley (Matt McNamara from Nip/Tuck). This movie seemed to have a few things going really well for it, but it just didn’t successfully pull it all together for me. Ultimately, it’s a neat concept, I just really wish they’d have done more to explore it or at least make it more interesting. It won’t satisfy if you’re looking for real horror; there’s no suspense or feeling of dread. But if you’re in the market for a dull, semi-campy, fairly gory satire about teenagers, abstinence, sex, and vagina teeth, then this should be the next movie you watch.


Three random, disgusting facts having to do with teeth:

  • In very rare instances, teeth may actually grow in a vagina. They’re called Dermoid Cysts. The cells that make up these cysts are able to mature into teeth, bones, or hair.

  • In 2014, Ashik Gavai of Mumbai, had 232 denticles (abnormal, teeth-like growths) removed from his mouth. They were caused by a benign dental tumor.

  • Also in 2014, another kid in India had 200 of these denticles removed from her mouth.