This isn’t a case of saving the best for last or anything, but rather just the last of the DVD reviews for the After Dark Horrorfest 2007. It’s been a fun trip examining all of these films, with a few ups and a handful of downs. No matter what I may have said about the various movies, as a fan of horror, I really do appreciate the mere existence of this festival. It gives exposure to a handful of films that might otherwise go unnoticed and over the years, a few of them have managed to be stand alone good, despite their budgetary constraints and limited releases.
Tooth and Nail follows the trials of a small band of survivors in an Apocalyptic world, one which has been caused by perhaps the lamest of all Apocalypse scenarios – a lack of gasoline. That is how the world ends. We ruin out of gasoline and immediately 95% of the population disappears and everything falls to ruin. If you have your sarcasm highlighter turned off, that text will appear normal, but even for a movie of this type, that is a fairly lame, tacked on environmental message that made me chortle. I would have preferred a biological event or chemical warfare, or something along those lines. Oh well. Regardless of the reasons, the shit hits the fan when a group of roving cannibals set their sights upon our group of survivors and a traitor becomes apparent in their midst.
While it takes some time to put them all in the ground, the movie does do a good job of killing a good portion of the people we see on screen. Very few of the kills stuck with me, though, and mostly were rather tame when it came to the actual killings. One kill that takes place in a kitchen is pleasantly violent, though there are no groundbreaking, or skullbreaking, kills to be had. We get some old standards, some arrow shots, some impalings, and stabbings. A good assortment, though many of them aren’t quite as violent as I would have liked.
A fair bit of blood is spilled, which is nice. Neck wounds bleed appropriately, a few heads are smashed violently. There are a few scenes that deal with the aftermath of a cannibal attack on one of our survivors which gives some glimpses of a pretty banged up dude. Maybe some of the more queasier people will find this film graphic, though the hardcore horror hounds out there won’t be bothered to put down their nachos.
Rider Strong gets a few sex scenes here, so I guess it’s ladies night if you dig on him. The sex scenes are fairly lame and we don’t get to see anything worth standing up and clapping over. This isn’t a film that flashed the boobies around in celebration as it aimed for a more serious tone. However, the film did introduce me to the ultra attractive Rachel Miner, who I quickly fell in love with. Thanks, Tooth and Nail!
Apocalyptic films often give us a good chance to take notes on what not to do. This film nails down the lesson don’t trust anyone and stick together. In any situation where the world has gone to shit, you’re going to want to stick tight to a group of people and be wary of outsiders. When confronted with overwhelming odds, don’t panic. Prepare as best you can and fight it out. Also, human flesh is best served barbecued.
Tooth and Nail is kind of a tough one. Well, no, not really. It’s not that good. It had a lot of promise. I love the Apocalypse, I love survival, and I love roving cannibals. It even had a strong, recognizable cast featuring Vinnie Jones, Michael Madsen, Rider Strong, and David Carradine. Though perhaps the cast is a great example for what I felt about this – lots of potential, failed execution. Disappointing. Carradine is on screen for maybe 30 seconds while Michael Madsen gets more time, but virtually nothing to do. Vinnie Jones is criminally underused and probably finished his filming in a day. Tremendous letdown! Michael Kelly, who became one of my favorites after his turn in the remake of Dawn of the Dead also co-stars, but again, isn’t given much to do and is absent for much of the film.
The film lacks a certain tension despite the dire stakes. The meaner actors aren’t really given the time or the space to intimidate anyone. Rachel Miner gets to stretch her chops more than most and she actually nails down a good performance that is both convincing and fairly fun, despite the nature of the character.
The film suffers from a lack of action at times and glaringly poor dialog, from our villains especially. At times it can be nice to look at with good images of barbaric savages, but the fact that they never really live up to their potential is maddening. When it really comes down to it, Tooth and Nail is a disappointing effort that misfires nearly from the start, despite having a strong and interesting premise – the Apocalypse! Just reading the basis I’ve laid down here, it even still sounds good. But it’s not. I’d say pass on this one, friends.