Two young women terrorized by a group of small town psychos seek revenge on their tormentors.
Revenge is a primal urge. The need, nay, the want to exact punishment unto a person for the wrongdoing brought unto you is a deep rooted desire that consumes one’s soul until exacted. No matter how extreme or benign the revenge may be, the satisfaction it affords is unadulterated bliss.
The revenge genre is one that continues to entertain us in its many iterations because of this; Van Damme built his career on it! Throw in the horrendousness of rape and you have the components for a truly primal invoking tale.
I Spit on Your Grave does this well, but unfortunately, Even Lambs have Teeth does not.
There isn’t much to Even Lambs have Teeth. As far as revenge flicks go, it is a very straightforward affair. Katie (Tiera Skovbye) and Sloane (Kirsten Prout) are graduates looking to make a buck or two over the break so they can spend it all on a shopping spree in NY. They organised a stint at a rural organic farm to earn the dough needed for their materialistic desires. After being driven to the area by Katie’s uncle Jason, who also just happens to be an FBI detective (gee, I wonder if that comes into play later on…), they meet a couple of handsome local guys and agree to let the gentleman “drive” them to the organic farm. As anybody with a modicum of grey matter can deduce, the girls don’t end up at the farm, but instead are drugged and find themselves scantily clad and chained to shipping containers in the middle of bum-f#ck nowhere. Sold off to the locals as sex toys, and as you’d expect from a cookie cutter script; practically EVERYONE in the town is in on it, the hapless women are raped numerous times. But when the chance to escape presents itself, the women waste no time in doing so. However, not content with merely fleeing, our victims decide to turn the tables and proceed to exact revenge on the men who captured them and anybody involved in their heinous entrapment.
Now, you’re probably thinking it all sounds reasonably good and has the potential for some rather unsettling gruesome scenes from either end of the acts. As many know well, a rape scene can really unsettle a viewer, and on the other spectrum, a violent and ruthless revenge kill can both entertain and make you root for the victim even more. However, don’t let my Shakespeare-esque writing fool you, Even Lambs Have Teeth is the opposite of its title in regards to this… It’s a lamb that’s had its teeth removed and had airbags installed in replacement…
Any scene involving rape or violence is completed neutered, with the rape scenes merely insinuated to such a watered down degree that any attempt at evoking emotion from the viewer was muted. I know, I know, rape is a horrific act and even a make believe scene of such a thing can be pretty hard to watch (Irreversible’s rape scene still sticks in my brain to this day), but barely anything was shown here. There is the smallest of scenes with Sloan and one “customer” but it pretty much compared to what I’d expect a midday movie to portray in a rape scene. The director relied far too much on the viewer’s imagination to conjure the heinous acts, with little to no assistance from the film itself. Creative ways to insinuate the rapes could (should) have been added, utilising sounds, camera angels and even the expressions of the other captive whilst she heard the act take place, but nothing of the sort was attempted and I feel it was a severely wasted opportunity.
Once the gals get to have revenge the disappointment doesn’t wane as pretty much all their kills are cut away just at the moment of impact, so even the satisfaction of seeing the tormenters being killed is robbed from the viewer. When the writer and director concoct a horrifying scene involving a stick entwined with barbed wire and nails sticking out of it for use as a dildo, a viewer (well, me) really wants to see the effects of such a thing rather than a scream, a cut away, and then back to the victim with a pool of blood on the floor. This film is classified as a thriller rather than a horror, so I guess you can expect the violence to be minimal, but it almost felt midday movie-ish in the way it was cut.
There is also a tonal shift which grates very quickly. Once Katie and Sloan become the tormentors they also become the queens of quips and zingers and it becomes almost comical in nature. It was overly used and when you already have issues with watered down violence, too many plot conveniences and cookie cutter storyline and characters, the negative effect is exasperated.
Another gripe I had was the fact that the gals found their prey way too easily and had free reign of the town. At one point they chained a dude to a car and dragged him THROUGH THE TOWN, yet no attention was brought to Katie or Sloan, and this is at the time when the bad guys KNEW the women had escaped. It was nonsensical to me; no one looked for them once they fled, hell, the main bad guy simply returned home, conveniently for the story I will add…
Cinematography was solid, though underutilised. With the lack of any visual component to the violence and rape, the sound and camera could have been utilised to make up for this deficiency, but they never were. Scenes were shot merely to get them across with minimal fuss. Acting was solid, with nothing really to complain or write home about though our leads could competently convey fear and horror when required, so kudos to them!
Would I watch this again? No. Even Lambs Have Teeth doesn’t cut it as a revenge flick nor does it add anything to the genre to warrant a re-watch. On a positive note the film does serve as an IMDB credit and valuable experience for those involved.
Would I recommend this? Not really. Maybe viewers who are averse to anything remotely graphic may find some value in this.
1.5 out of 5 MacGyvered dildos