Saturday, August 11, 2012

TEETH (Michael Lichtenstein, 2007, USA)

TEETH is a post-modern Geek tragedy told not from the perspective of the Hero but from the mythological beast that must be conquered. Dawn is just an ordinary girl who has a rather peculiar evolutionary adaptation: she has the teeth of the Hydra inside her and waits for Hercules to wield his sickle and slay the evil mutation. 

Dawn is a proponent of abstinence and is wracked with guilt when she fantasizes healthily about sex. Tobey is her friend and colleague who also pledged abstinence but he has other darker desires: one day while swimming he rapes her. Of course, the beast that guards the portal to the sacred underworld is awakened and Tobey is emasculated and bleeds to death. Dawn struggles for understanding and unknowingly visits a perverted gynecologist who takes advantage of her too. He’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar and his punishment for thievery is befitting of the Codex Hammurabi. When she finally gives her body willingly to a boy she enjoys the experience and is relieved to exert control over her blossoming womanhood. But he soon gets his cum-uppance. Dawn uses her newly discovered talents to exact revenge against a cruel and tyrannical stepbrother in a scene reminiscent of De Sade’s 120 Days Of Sodom. She learns that indeed sex is a weapon. 

Mitchell Lichtenstein directs with eye for his father’s pop-culture comic book style visuals with exaggerated close-ups and colorful compositions. I especially like the ominous cooling towers hovering over Dawn’s house. But the condesc-ending travelogue is amorphous and leaves Dawn as a wandering victim searching for Hercules. 

Final Grade: (C+)