Tooth and Nail (2007)

Tooth and NailReviewed by Johnny Butane

Starring Rachel Miner, Rider Strong, Vinnie Jones, Michael Madsen

Directed by Mark Young (interview)

Distributed by After Dark Films and Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Tooth and Nail is not a bad movie. Tooth and Nail is not a good movie. Tooth and Nail just is.

The story takes place after the world has ended, 2/3 of the world’s population have been wiped out after we … get this … ran out of gas. Literally we stopped producing fuel, and it ended up causing chaos that led to anarchy that led to humans just pretty much going away.

Kind of a lame apocalypse, but then the voice-over that tell us all this acknowledges that fact. So that’s a good thing, I guess. Anyway, we follow a band of survivors who have holed up in an abandoned hospital, a huge abandoned hospital I should say, trying to eke out an existence without much idea of what to do next.

One day a trio of survivors are out on patrol and run into a lost girl called Neon (Miner), one of many idiotic names the survivors have that no one raises an eyebrow to and decide to bring her back to their hideout to make sure she recovers well. Shortly after taking her in, the group (including two of the people who wanted to bring her back) agree that they can’t afford to keep another mouth around to feed and are going to throw her out, but Neon uses her girlish charms to make them change their mind. Mainly by being a cute blonde.

Shortly after Neon’s appearance, the leader, Darwin (Robert Carradine), is killed late one night, leaving the survivors in turmoil as to how to continue eking out that boring existence they have, which seemed to consist mainly of chores and eating bland food. To make matters worse and even more confusing, a roaming tribe of cannibals suddenly starts paying attention to the group in the hospital.

After some rather lame power struggles, it’s decided that Neon is now in charge of everyone. She’s encountered these cannibals before, you see, and just knows you can’t fight them. In fact, she’s so certain nothing can be done to stop them and reiterates this so often throughout the movie, you may begin to wonder if maybe she doesn’t know more than she’s letting on.

Finally the cannibals attack, people are killed, but eventually hope is restored. There are a few good moments that I won’t spoil for you by printing them here, but trust me when I say you’re not missing a whole lot.

It’s hard to believe, I know, but somehow Tooth and Nail managed to just be a really dull movie. There are more scenes of people sitting around talking about what they should do than actually doing anything. The only somewhat exciting moments are when the cannibals are stalking their victims, but even those scenes are more akin to the cannibals strolling through the hospital’s corridors rather than actively seeking out their prey.

To be honest, the entire film just felt like it was written around the primo location of the huge abandoned hospital they shot it in. None of the acting is especially good or bad, there’s not enough Vinnie Jones or Michael Madsen chewing scenery to give it a cheesy charm, and the violence is minimal at best.

So yeah, Tooth and Nail wasn’t good or bad, it just … was. But that’s not really what I’m looking for in my post-apocalyptic cannibal movies, are you?

2 1/2 out of 5

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Johnny Butane