Crazy Eights / Tooth & Nail / Nightmare Man / Borderland
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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
Miss Horrorfest 2007 Contest webisodes
In the future, going out for dinner has taken on a whole new meaning.
Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Rider Strong, Robert Carradine, Rachel Miner, Michael Kelly, Nicole DuPort, Alexandra Barreto, Emily Catherine Young, Beverly Hynds, Patrick Durham.
Skolnick may have gotten his revenge, but he found out the hard way that payback’s a bitch…
In a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, a group of people are living in a hospital, looking to start a new community. When they take in a young woman, they have to try to survive an onslaught by a nomadic band of cannibals called Rovers looking to have them for dinner.
Upon first impression, Tooth & Nail doesn’t seem like more than just a low budget stab at a Mad Max world, only without the cars, leather and hockey paraphernalia…at least until the cannibals show up. However, it does quickly get a pretty serviceable story going about a small band of survivors, led by Darwin (Carradine), an intellectual type. Other members of the group are Ford (Strong), Dakota (DuPort) Torino (Barreto), Viper (Kelly), their best hunter and fighter, and Nova (Young) a young girl who doesn’t speak. Life for the group is fragile, but they’re managing to eke out a living in the abandoned hospital in which they live. They find Neon (Miner), a young woman who was the victim of an attack by a man named Mongrel (Jones). It’s not long after they take Neon in before Darwin is killed and carried off by someone, leaving a leadership vacuum within the group.
“Oh Topanga, I always knew it could be like this.”
“Who did you call me?”
“What? Oh, uh nothing…”
They soon discover that the Rovers, nomadic cannibals who look like Road Warrior cast-offs, have come upon their quiet little existence and are picking them off for food one by one, every night. The group looks to Neon, who’s had experience with them before. However, their only defense is to hide within the bowels of the hospital, trying to survive the nightly attacks by the Rovers. It’s not long before the last couple of group members have to take a stand by turning the tables on the Rovers after one of their group betrays them.
“Hang on, a sec buddy, just gotta cue up a little Stealers Wheel on the Ipod here before I proceed…”
Writer / director Mark Young has made a not bad – not great mind you – but not a bad dystopian future film here. There’s not too much that isn’t coming at you in a somewhat obvious manner, as the story is fairly predictable, including the betrayal by one of the characters. Nevertheless, I did like the film, possibly more than I should have, as Young keeps the narrative pretty tight and manages a few minor chills and thrills and some decent gore. What works for Young here is that he doesn’t get too overly ambitious in terms of turning his main characters into commandos in order to put up an effective fight against the Rovers. He keeps the focus of the story small and believable, and the intra-group dynamic grounded by how real people would probably handle the situation they find themselves in, except for running like hell of course.
However, what doesn’t entirely work are the Rovers, some of them mindless brutes, bordering on Morlockishness or – dare I say it – CHUDishness – only a few years into the future. They’re almost like what the Warriors would turn out like if they suddenly got a taste for human. Vinnie Jones and Michael Madsen are a couple of the Rovers, and they pretty much do what Madsen and Jones do – whack people in their own distinctive ways, Madsen channeling a bit of Mr. Blonde when he gets some poor slob in his sights. But ultimately they’re both wasted in this film, Madsen particularly. And something that
makes nearly no sense is that they only take one victim at a time, when
they could just grab the small lot of them, hold them in a cell they
had, and “raid the fridge” as they saw fit. There’s also a final confrontation that takes place between Dakota and the turncoat, that Dakota goes all Lord of the Flies for, that’s hugely derivative, yet nonetheless fairly entertaining.
Ole Manchester United got the surprise of their lives when they opened their door…”
Tooth & Nail doesn’t break much new ground in terms of originality, but it’s a serviceable little movie and easily a couple (more like a flight actually) of steps above the dreadful Lake Dead. I did like a couple of the performances, especially DuPort as Dakota.
The film doesn’t look bad in 1.78:1 with Dolby Digital backing it up, although much of it is maddeningly dark. However, the only features were the Miss Horrorfest 2007 webisodes that all the movies in this series have.