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Teeth

A horror comedy puts a new bit on an ancient fear-of-women myth

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Mitchell Lichtenstein's indie feature, a dark comedy about a teen-ager named Dawn who discovers she has a toothed vagina, is an off-beat hybrid of ancient myth, domestic horror and female empowerment. Also in the mix, a critique of teen-chastity programs and a wink at eco-thrillers (it may be just a coincidence that Dawn lives near a nuclear plant). This balancing act is sustained on the slender shoulders of Jess Weixler, who delivers a more-sensitive-than-than-this-genre-deserves portrayal of the frightened, then emboldened young Dawn, who discovers her anatomical adaptation during a sexual assault. Lichtenstein keeps the plot simmering slowly and, for the most part, doesn't sensationalize or freakify the sympathetic Dawn. Teeth has the occasional splash of exploitative gore, but as you might expect, it's the men who get hurt, and the bleeding is pretty localized. Starts Fri., March 28. Harris (AH) [capsule review]

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