The Elegant Perversity of Dogtooth
Dogtooth, the 2009 Greek film, is not going to be for everyone. In a sense, it’s a slow dark comedy horror movie, which happens to be a genre I like. Movies like The Shining, Let There Be Blood, and Drag Me To Hell, all fall into this category for me as well. There’s a little blood in Dogtooth and if you can’t stomach a few disturbing images, then this is not the movie for you. Mom, please do not watch this movie.
For me though, Dogtooth does a lot right. The best thing a movie can do is make me intensely curious about what’s happening and how it’s going to turn out from the very first moment. Then as the state of things is slowly revealed, retain that sense of total curiosity. Dogtooth did that.
Families have their own weird myths and in-jokes and this movie kind of takes that idea and blows it out to the highest degree. Almost the entire movie takes place in a beautiful home out in the boonies of Greece, since the three teenage children who live there are not allowed to leave the premises. The idea seems sweetly innocent, and indeed the beautiful children play many innocent and beautiful games, even though enduring pain seems to be a common theme of many of them.
As the movie progresses though it becomes clear just how twisted and perverse their upbringing has been, and that the parents are willfully doing it, for whatever reason. In my opinion though, it never devolves into total slasher nightmare. These teenagers natural aggression and sexuality just doesn’t have anywhere to go, and it bubbles out in increasingly inappropriate ways.
As you might be able to guess, there are serious sexual overtones, and some of the sexual scenes are pretty explicit. I doubt this movie would have been able to receive an R rating in the US. If you liked movies like Secretary, then it’s very possible you’d find this movie hot, in spite of the twisted nature of its sexual rhythm.
It’s on Amazon Prime Video if you wish to watch it. There is a trailer, but if you’re willing to see it without, I recommend it, since the trailer spoils a bunch of the surprises. It’s a movie best left to unfold at its own pace.