‘Tooth and Nail’ – A Middling Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal Flick
First things first, this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The whole thing about the world ending as we know it because we’ve run out of gas was a bit hokey. Possible, but still hokey. Basically, the film is about a peaceful group of people, the Foragers, living in a post-apocalyptic world and trying to keep from being eaten for dinner by a group of cannibals, the Rovers. Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones are a couple of Rovers. I kept expecting to hear Madsen say “Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie, or are you gonna bite?” Tarantino fans will know where that’s from. The cast is rounded out by Rachel Miner, who looks like the love child of Naomi Watts and Gwen Stefani, as well as Rider “See, I told you I have a career after Boy Meets World” Strong and Robert Carradine.
In the drab 2007 horror thriller ‘Tooth and Nail’, a band of survivors ekes out an existence in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by gas shortages, only to find themselves hunted by a vicious cannibal clan led by Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones. While the premise shows promise, pedestrian execution and tired clichés prevent the film from sinking its teeth in.
When the nomadic Foragers cross paths with the bloodthirsty Rovers, sadistic games of cat-and-mouse ensue in the streets of abandoned cities overgrown with vegetation. With society’s breakdown, it’s survival of the fittest and most ruthless. But the Foragers, led by a resolute young woman named Neon, refuse to become victims without a fight.
The recycled plot offers little variation on the post-apocalyptic cannibal formula, right down to the grimy punk rock aesthetics and Madsen sleezing it up as the villain. Aside from a few spirited performances, the stock characters generate minimal investment. And the jagged editing does director Mark Young’s work few favors.
While the premise held potential for gritty B-movie thrills, ‘Tooth and Nail’ lacks the polish and inspiration to elevate routine genre fare into something memorable. It substitute’s gore for substance, relying on violence over originality.
There’s a decent amount of hack and slash gore as the result of axes and meat cleavers slicing into human flesh. The film is not overly gory, but it does have it’s moments. The acting is good. Miner stands out as a highlight of the film and Strong is a bit of a weak point. Madsen and Jones aren’t on screen long enough to make any kind of judgment on their thespian skills. Although I don’t think anyone will ever accuse Jones of being John Malkovich (pun intended). I know damn well Madsen can be a good actor, but he’s wasted in this film. The best performance comes from Nicole DuPort as Dakota, a member of the Foragers who is forced to make a stand to protect the people in her care.
As I said at the beginning, this film wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. But let’s be honest, it could have been a lot better.
Most of the “Foragers” (excluding Darwin) are named after automobiles, in relation to the main cause of the social collapse being gas shortage: Dakota (Dodge Dakota), Ford (Ford Motor Company), Viper (Dodge Viper), Torino (Ford Gran Torino), Nova (Chevy Nova), Max (could be a reference to the Metropolitan Area Express), Yukon (GMC Yukon), Victoria (Ford Crown Victoria), and Neon (Dodge Neon). Likewise, the “Rovers” are named after canines: Jackal, Mongrel, Shepherd, Wolf, Dingo, Lobo, Black Dog, Hairball, and Pug.
Michael Madsen as Jackal-Rover
Vinnie Jones as Mongrel-Rover
Rachel Miner as Neon
Written and Directed and Edited by Mark Young