FrightFest '07: Teeth

A perfectly packaged American indie flick with one fatal, damning flaw: it's probably the most misogynistic film you'll see all year.

Based around the myth of the 'vagina dentata', itself a story created by male fear and hatred of female sexuality, Teeth takes a devout and innocent Christian girl, gives her teeth in her vagina, and then subjects her to sexual assault for the best part of 90 minutes. However, because of her genital abnormality, her rapists tend to get their penises severed, thus turning the whole incident into a crass realisation of the male fear of castration. Never mind that the girl's just been raped - the poor penises!

There is such a deep-seated fear and hatred of women in this film that it's difficult and even painful to watch. The more troubling scenes include one where said girl, drugged up to her eyeballs to the point of being unable to sit upright or hold a wine glass, gets sexually assaulted by an idiot who's made a juvenile bet that he could fuck her. And it's played for laughs, as is another scene where the girl returns home to find that her terminally ill mother has died - but then the camera pans out to reveal her step-brother having anal sex with his girlfriend. Hilarious, right? I don't even want to think about the scene in which a doctor, under the guise of a normal gynecological examination, sexually assaults her - the rape in this film really is relentless.

The issues in the film only get more convoluted and more problematic as the minutes tick by. The fact that this girl is wrestling with her long-held religious beliefs is skipped over because, apparently, in the world of Teeth, if you rape a woman long enough she'll start to like it. The presentation of the religious right in this movie is confusing; the film seems to want to lampoon them for trying to restrain teenage sexuality while, at the same time, making it clear that the film's own interests lie in exactly the same area: perpetrating a mistrust of, and desire to repress, female sexuality. There are no instances of normal, consensual sex in this film; it's all forced, it's all rape of one flavour or another.

Typically, the lead girl becomes a rampaging slut by the end of the movie, revelling in her ability to cut her rapists quite literally down to size. There is something very, very, very wrong with writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein's perception of sexuality, women (and indeed men, since in his world they are all rapists, without exception), the world, and comedy, and I just sincerely hope no-one ever lets him behind a camera ever again.

I'm not even linking to the IMDB for this piece of worthless shit.


Ron said...

I swear to God, Sarah. If there's a movie with a rape in it, you'll stumble blindly into watching it.

Chris Green said...

Sarah - are you sure you were sat in the same movie as the rest of us?

Sarah Dobbs said...

I'm very sure. And I can't say I was in any way comfortable about sitting in a room full of men laughing uproariously at scene after scene of sexual assault.

Chris Green said...

Except the majority were not laughing at scene after scene of sexual assault at all (I say majority as the sheer number of people in the room meant that at least one was probably a sicko who was getting off on the assult side of things).

Instead, we were laughing at scene after scene of social misfits, oversexed jocks and evil stepbrothers getting exactly what they deserved for forcing themselves/taking advantage of a lone female.

The laughter was on the positive, not the negative - the positive being that the female lead had an unusual, but nonetheless effective means to combat unwanted sexual advances.

Sarah Dobbs said...

I wish that were true, but that wasn't where the laughter was, and that wasn't even what the film presented as funny.