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PUBLISHED: 16:19 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 August 2010

THE second feature film to be written and directed by actor Mitchell Lichtenstein, Teeth, is a zany, over-the-top blend of horror, comedy and satire.


Cert 18

THE second feature film to be written and directed by actor Mitchell Lichtenstein, Teeth, is a zany, over-the-top blend of horror, comedy and satire.

The story is based around an ancient myth known as 'vagina dentata', in which a young girl has a second set of pearly whites situated in her nether regions ready to chomp off any over-eager choppers that go where they are not welcome.

The young lady in question is Dawn (Jess Weixler, pictured) a restrained ingénue who lives with her stepfather Bill (Lenny Von Dohlen) and her overprotective tattooed stepbrother, Brad (John Hensley), who seems to do little but listen to black metal and read dirty magazines.

Dawn is the central figure in a small but committed teen abstinence group who gives public speeches on the importance of chastity and is shunned by her peers and pelted with food on her way to school in the mornings for her efforts.

Her vow is thrown into jeopardy when her only friends, Gwen (Julia Garro) and Phil (Adam Wagner), invite her on a double date to a swimming hole with Tobey (Hale Appleman), a charming young man who has also made 'the promise'. While on the trip, Dawn develops an attraction for Tobey that she finds difficult to contain, but when he starts to gets a little bit carried away, her adaptation - as she calls it - takes care of business in a brutally efficient manner.

Traditionally the myth is said to represent the fear of castration. However, Lichtenstein uses it as a metaphor to physically express the fear felt by a young woman as she struggles to come to terms with her burgeoning sexuality - while poking fun at everything from prudish Christians and sleazy gynaecologists to sexed-up teens and creationists along the way. Tasteful it may not be, but Lichtenstein has produced a smart, blackly comic, off-kilter film that is much more satisfying than the simple gross-out suggested by its central conceit.

* Teeth is released in cinemas tomorrow (June 20).

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