Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two Front Teeth – review

dvdFirst released: 2006

Contains spoilers

Sometimes a film manages to rise above its limitations and there are many ways in which this can happen. Certainly for a low budget film, which Two Front Teeth definitely is, it is concept and story that can carry it above said limitations.

When it comes to concept there is none more unique than two front teeth. Indeed it is the only vampiric Christmas film, where Santa, or Clausferatu (Josh Buchbinder), is a vampire, that I can think of off the top of my head. Indeed tying the vampiric traditions into the Christmas mythology is a rarity, though my own The Meaning of Christmas is another example, as is The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas.

That’s not to say that the budget constraints do not show in this, the lighting, for instance, is terrible, the sets limited and it looks cheap but sometimes you can touch a special something…

an elf behind NoelleNoelle Snow (Megan Pearson) loves Christmas, to a fetishist level, so it is just a shame that her husband Gabe (Johnny Francis Wolf) is Christmas phobic, to the point of having panic attacks when he sees Santa models. Noelle, consequently, is cheating on him with a mall Santa named Kevin (Eric Messner). They are about to get down and dirty when she hears something, firstly on the roof and then downstairs. She sends Kevin to investigate. Kevin is attacked by an elf. Later the same elf captures Noelle.

one of the elvesLet us, for a moment, talk elves. These are not your atypical Santa’s little helpers. Described as zombie elves they have sharp pointed teeth, foul mouths, heads that continue to mouth off when removed from the body and a perchance for fetish type wear. The primary one is called Frost (Lisa Oberg), though there is a whole army of the pernicious little buggers. Actually the makeup work for them wasn’t too shabby either.

Johnny Francis Wolf as GabeAs for Gabe, he works for a tabloid dedicated to holiday weirdness called the X-Mass Files. We see many of the front pages and he has been investigating a crashed plane, he has a source who has given him info about the crash. He has written a note to Noelle – which also contains divorce papers as he knows she is fooling around. His editor, Ed (Michael Brecher), tries to get details re the source and then gives him a gun for Christmas. Why a gun? All he will say is that he went to Gabe’s house and lost an ear… Now I know what you're thinking, lost an ear… plot improbability at the very least, but we have left reality at the head of the film.

The Source is a gunslingerGabe gets home and finds Kevin’s head on a train set and Noelle tied up. He frees her and tries to get Kevin’s car keys (Ed has driven off in Gabe’s car). An elf has the car keys. They manage to get the key, though Gabe is bitten. A group of carollers get in the way as they make their escape and later we see that the elf slaughters them for their trouble. Gabe heads away but when they try to phone the cops they aren’t believed. They are hijacked by Ed who says that *they* want to know who the source is, but he is thrown from the car for his troubles. Gabe heads to his source, a gunslinger wannabe called Pete (Joseph L Johnson). Pete knows what is going on… Santa is evil, a vampire.

Josh Buchbinder as ClausferatuClausferatu is a creature who comes out at night, who dresses in red and has no fear of fire – hence coming down chimneys – and injects greed into the Christmas festivities (all very similar to Gabe’s story, ‘Yes Virginia, there is a vampiric Santa’). The flight was brought down by a ‘bird strike’ involving a reindeer escaping from Clausferatu – we get a bizarre little animation at this point. It died and Pete has its head mounted, but the elves are trying to get the red nose for their master. When it flashes it causes them pain.

digging out a tracking deviceThe elves are using Gabe and Noelle to find Pete. They have placed a tracking device in the shape of a gingerbread man in Noelle’s foot. Gabe has to remove it. They decide to hide out in a place that Christmas has not touched for many years – Gabe’s old family home. It is here that we discover why Noelle has a Christmas fetish and why Gabe has a Christmas phobia.

the Silent KnightsWe can also throw into the mix the Silent Knights – a group of nuns who have taken a vow of silence but are also Vatican assassins. It is they who took Ed’s ear and they seek to get the nose as this will be the decisive battle for Christmas and, yes, it is all very, very bizarre.

bitten nunOver all this should be dross, badly lit and very cheap, but… the dialogue is well done, the constant Christmas gags work well and Noelle and Gabe work as a mismatched couple who actually do love each other – they’ve just got lost in their own little worlds. The story is so bizarre it can only be worth a watch and, if you can stand the low budget, this actually had something going for it.

It is far from perfect, it has no logic base to work from and yet it is fun, a guilty pleasure would probably be the best descriptor. If you can handle the excesses of low budget aspects then this is worth a watch. 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Zahir Blue said...

Wow. I think I have to look this up. Thanks!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

b movie heaven Zahir, have a gerat Yule.