The Tooth Fairy
August 3, 2006
Writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell continues to challenge Roger Corman’s throne as the king of quickie B-horror movies made on the cheap. He struck a deal a few years ago with Anchor Bay Entertainment to distribute his films that feature a host of B-movie actors that you may have heard of (Christine Taylor, Cerina Vincent) and veteran character actors (Sean Young, Lance Henriksen) whose glory days are long gone.
Remember when you were a child and you would leave your baby teeth that had fallen out under your pillow for the tooth fairy? When you woke up the next morning there would be money in place of your tooth. The Tooth Fairy (2006) takes that pleasant urban legend and twists it into a nasty little horror film.
In northern California 1949 a hideous evil witch entices children to her decrepit house in the woods outside of a small town, steals their teeth and then brutally murders them. Flash-forward to present day and her house has been converted into a cozy country inn by Peter (Munro), an ex-doctor who hopes to become a writer. Working for him is Bobby (Hutch), the hunky groundsman. Their guests include Darcy (West), a good-looking paralegal and her child Pamela (Munoz), and Star Roberts (Fleming), an ex-stripper who is going to veterinarian school.
The film starts off well enough with decent dialogue and believable characters until Darcy and her daughter are terrorized by two local hayseeds. She narrowly escapes and makes it to the inn but does she call the police and report the incident? No. Instead, she has a glass of wine with Peter. It’s a nagging, unrealistic blunder that takes you out of the movie and is an example of sloppy writing that could have easily been fixed.
Pamela meets a little blonde girl while exploring the woods surrounding the inn. The girl is one of the Tooth Fairy’s victims and now her spirit wanders the Earth looking for someone to set her free. The little girl tells Pam about the Tooth Fairy and warns her not to lose a tooth because the evil witch will come for her. Even though the film trots out the tired stereotype of the evil witch at least there is a scene where Darcy puts them into historical context for her daughter. It’s a nice touch.
The Tooth Fairy spends a good 30 minutes developing the main characters, their backstories and the relationships with each other with realistic conversations. Pretty soon, however, the bad witch is picking off the inn’s inhabitants in grisly fashion (one fatality involves a woodchipper and another with a nail gun). The film chugs along at a competent pace but one can’t help but feel that all the things wrong with it, the plot holes, could have easily been fixed. It took three people to write the screenplay and they still messed it up. Not to mention, this ground was already covered, much more competently, in the underrated Darkness Falls (2003) making this new film redundant and unnecessary.
“Hatchet Job: The Making of The Tooth Fairy” features Stephen J. Cannell gleefully talking about the movie’s premise while director Chuck Bowman admits that he had to rent a bunch of horror films in order to get a feel for the genre – a rather odd statement coming from this veteran of T.V. A quick look at his resume on the Internet Movie Database sees that he has essayed pretty much every genre in his career. He also gushes about Nicole Munoz’s performance. Some of the cast talk about their characters in this standard featurette.
“Tales of the Tooth Fairy” examines the urban myth of the Tooth Fairy with the cast and crew talking about their own interpretations of the myth.
Finally, there is an audio commentary by producer Cannell, director Bowman and actor Jesse Hutch. Bowman and Cannell have been working together for over 30 years and have a good rapport. Cannell talks about the difficulties in finding the right house for the inn. Then, they found the right house but it was in a busy area that they were worried would be hard to film. However, Bowman showed them that he could create the illusion that it existed in a deserted area. This is a relaxed track as Bowman and Cannell take us through the movie with Hutch chiming in occasionally.