Is it a coincidence I wrote this post on Halloween?

Is it a coincidence I wrote this post on Halloween?

For reasons not entirely clear, my brothers and I watched The Dentist 2 late one night at my grandma’s, a few years back.  And so, obviously, I was curious to see if the first one was as ridiculous as its sequel.

The Dentist stars Corbin Bernsen (not Benson, or am I the only one who finds his last name confusing) as, well, a dentist.  A slighly mentally disturbed one who cherishes cleanliness.  After catching his wife cheating on him (on their anniversary!  With the pool boy!) he sorta snaps, and soon finds a reason why just about everyone needs to be cleaned – meaning mutilated in various ways guaranteed to get you to think twice about going to the dentist.

I thought the scenes where Bernsen destroyed people’s teeth were brilliantly shot, and I definitely cringed each time I saw a tooth being ground down to a bloody pulp.  Bernsen’s character, while not necessarily bringing anything new to the canon, was actually pretty interesting (helped, no doubt by the actor), and definitely worthy of being the center of two movies.

But, ultimately, the movie is a mess, as hokiness abounds, and the film often feels like the writers (Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, and Charles Finch) are a little too into bad 80s movies.  The subplot with the cops who track down Bernsen seem like a begrudging afterthought, for example.  Bernsen is legimately creepy character, but he’s rarely allowed to shine through, as the movie spends too much time getting the victims to the good dentist.  And not enough time on their dental destruction, the other strength of the movie.

Mark Ruffalo shows up a small role as a talent agent, which is amusing.  And there’s Molly Hagan, who I immediately recognized from a Murder, She Wrote episode.  Sometimes your proudest day can be your most shameful.

Two Stars (4.4 on IMDb, MRQE, 0% on RT, 2.9 on Netflix)

Trailer after the jump:

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