Posted January 24, 2008 in Film

The legend of the vagina dentata—the lady bits with fangs—is rooted in the fear of female sexuality. Innocent teen Dawn (a dewy Jess Weixler) shares that terror; a leading figure in her school’s chastity pledge movement, she’s never even looked underneath her panties, let alone explored. But the two nuclear smokestacks looming over her small town have triggered a toothed mutation which Dawn—along with a series of Y-chromosomed villains and dolts—finds out is equally a curse, a necessary evolution, and a gift from an avenging angel. Writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein’s unshakable horror-comedy is just as divided between feminism and fright, finding inspiration for Dawn’s special place in everything from mystical caves to Jaws. But every time the scary music kicks in and another dumb male clutches his crotch in howling agony, the theater bursts into uncertain giggles like a needed release from this odd little film’s grip on our nerves as we watch the once-wholesome blonde straddle her next deserving victim, aware that each bite also takes a piece out of her. (Amy Nicholson)


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