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STUDIO: Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME: 89 Minutes
• "Hatchet Job: The Making of The Tooth Fairy"
• Feature commentary w/ Chuck Bowman, Stephen J. Cannell, Jessu Hutch.
"It’s, uh… a straight-to-DVD horror
Chandra West (White Noise), Lochlyn
Munro (Scary Movie)
Remember that kid on Animaniacs who
would toddle down his front walk, licking an ice cream or something, and tell
the audience what his friend Bobby’s aunt or mother had said, this one time? If
you do, imagine he’s reading the following summary. If not, just imagine I’m a
retard. That shouldn’t be too difficult.
Okay, so, there was this which, right? And she
really liked teeth, or maybe she really hated cavities. Anyway. She used to
lure kids into her house with the promise of a nice present, or something. Oh
yeah, and she also had these gross tumors all over her face and doesn’t like
looking in a mirror or out of her windows so she had them all smashed or
painted black. Okay. So she’s luring kids into her house, and then she takes
their loose teeth. And then she kills them, wham! And sometimes she comes back
and haunts other people who have loose teeth, but really she just goes around
killing anybody she wants because she’s ugly.
"Oh, Ms. Dworkin, you’re such a kidder."
Not even joking about that summary. It’s hard to
write a concise synopsis for a flick that has as many sets of rules as the
Monopoly game I grew up with. (You know, the "I’m the banker, so I get
free money" rule, and the "I’m the racecar, so I get to move double
spaces when I want to" rule.) I’m all for raping the myths of childhood,
but it has to be done coherently. The motivation for The Tooth Fairy‘s
titular villain starts out simply enough, and would have made for a marginally
"No good!" say the filmmakers. Let us combine her
with Jason and kill anybody who crosses her path or gets near her path or has
given a name to their house!
If you’re playing the home game, call that
concept: aborted. points. Don’t take double moves, you bastard.
The surface-level writing isn’t much better. Most
of the dialogue is as flat as week-old soda, and, in places, just as
saccharine. There is a certain bubbly, ex-stripper character who enjoys sharing
emotional dialogues with anyone who will stop and stare at her boobs, which is
pretty much everyone. These shallow conversations pepper the script, and are
told entirely through exposition.
"We’re here to take a look at your leaky subplot."
Paraphrased example: "I’m going to be a
veterinarian! I did not like selling my body. It made me feel Bad."
"I understand. I am a football player. I
have impure thoughts."
The plotting isn’t much better, with the confused
addition of a side-plot that features more tension than the main one, and
convenient plot devices placed at carefully measured intervals.
For the gore fans, there are a couple of nice
kills. One poor sap gets fed to a woodchipper, and a girl gets crucified with a
nail gun. The other kills occur primarily off-screen, or show only the
aftermath. What they do show is nice and bloody, so if that’s your primary
criterion for horror, then… hell, you can do better than this. There is such
a long stretch between the first kill and the second that your attention-momentum
will die completely with the boredom.
Pick a concept and stick with it, filmmakers.
"Emma Inge and I are getting old / And we still haven’t walked
in the glow of each other’s majestic presence."
Well, the movie sucks, but the disc has got a
couple of good bonuses. There’s the aptly-titled behind-the-scenes documentary
"Hatchet Job: The Making of The Tooth Fairy," and a feature
commentary from the director, Chuck Bowman, and producer Stephen J. Cannell (who also produced It Waits).
There’s also "star" Jesse Hutch who plays the first victim, the
abovementioned football star, and doesn’t contribute much to the commentary
anyway. The others have a great affection for low-budget horror, but fail to
find any distinction between a simple concept told well, and a simple concept
crammed together with other simple concepts in an attempt to reach a critical
mass of simple concepts which are, by the way, scary.
They communicate the intention better, but I used
fewer words. So nyah.
4 out of 10