Yikes…that sums up two things for me; the only word I could think of immediately after watching DOGTOOTH and my feelings towards the events of the film. By no means did I think DOGTOOTH was a bad film, but my goodness is it a peculiar beast. That is one thing that lots of foreign films share in common, they really go against the grain and don’t just test the norms so much as they beat them senseless with a hammer. Most filmmakers might test the water a bit and flirt with crossing lines, but director Giorgos Lanthimos skips the pleasantries and does a swan dive into shark infested waters, but comes out with all major appendages attached.
DOGTOOTH in short is about three young adults, one guy and two girls, that have been totally sheltered their entire lives by their father and mother. They are home schooled and are mislead at every corner by their parents by being given incorrect terms for everyday items and even body parts. The parents hide them from anything that would corrupt them but resort to physical violence should they misbehave and watch or say anything inappropriate. The father decides to bring in someone from the outside to take care of his son’s sexual needs, which then backfires as she soon corrupts one of the daughters and things begin to take even more bizarre turns.
To say DOGTOOTH is unconventional would be a giant understatement. Every scene kept me guessing what could possibly happen next; between the “children’s” bizarre vocabulary, awkward sex scenes and nurturing techniques, I found myself fascinated as well as disgusted at several points. It’s been a couple days since seeing the film and I feel like I’m still trying to make sense of every minor detail.
There’s a limited cast and they all perform splendidly and bravely given the material they are dealing with. Too much discussion over that material could spoil some of the scenes later on in the film, but believe me despite the laughs there are to be had at the expense of the characters, I’m not sure how much you’re supposed to actually enjoy this film.
I cannot feel good about recommending this movie without a HUGE warning. There is lots of graphic sexuality bordering on and crossing what you might see in most adult films, except in DOGTOOTH the sex is awkward and at times extremely perverse. There are also bursts of violence that looks disturbingly real, the most shocking scene being very near the end. The scene in question was so brutal that it made me really contemplate looking away and I’m no stranger to incredibly violent scenes; that’s all I will say so I can stay away from obvious spoilers.
DOGTOOTH is a film to be enjoyed only by those with a taste for extremely polarizing types of cinema. It’s not hard to imagine people watching this and being violently angry with anyone who suggested they watch it, but on the other hand they too might find fascination in the themes it presents. I have no doubt DOGTOOTH will make you laugh but it also has the potential to turn your stomach.