The Dentist Review

The Dentist (1996)

Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Linda Hoffman, Ken Foree
Directed by: Brian Yuzna

This was a gem I remember from the 90's as being the movie that made me worry about visiting the dentist like Child's Play made every kid worry about owning a My Buddy doll. I think I may have just showed my age there. Oh well, here we go...

In The Dentist, after catching his wife cheating on him, successful Dr. Feinstone loses it and begins to find under every clean white surface exists a layer of filth and decay that must be dealt with.

The Dentist is a dark tale that delves into the psyche of a man who just can't take it anymore. A practitioner who is already high strung, wound tight and close to the edge is tossed overboard headlong when he sees his wife pleasuring the pool boy with, of all things, her mouth. This movie really makes you feel for the titular character because at first, he seems like a bit of a tight ass, but soon you realize he's deprived. He's neglected and betrayed by not just his wife, but in a way, society.

I like to consider this movie in a similar vein as films like Falling Down not because the main character is also the villain (of sorts), but because he's been brought to that boiling point by society and has fallen into a steep downward spiral of losing his sanity, causing him to do things he normally wouldn't on any other less stressful day. I guess the real difference, though, is Dr. Feinstone is far from being a vigilante--removing all the teeth from his wife's mouth, sexually assaulting a beautiful actress patient, mangling, mauling and those who step in his way. You can only feel so bad for the guy.

Ultimately, though, I do like the plot for this movie. It's initially told from the point of view of Dr. Feinstone (who, mind you, is miming his usual dentistry motions as he begins speaking), which lends a bit of sincerity to the story. Every time the good doctor sees things through a lens of distorted reality isn't an interpretation, it's how he was really seeing things at the time. That's pretty fucked up when you think about it.

Most of the characters in this movie really do seem to be out to screw Dr. Feinstone as he's extorted by an IRS agent, cheated on by his wife and the list goes on. Again, it does make you feel for him in the long run, though he does do his own unforgivably evil deeds. It's a fine line, really.

Being a horror from the mid 90's, this film has some pretty decent special effects, all being practicals. They're not the best, but it helps add to the atmosphere. While not the goriest scene, my favorite is probably when he gets his revenge on the pool cleaner. The way the blood sprays on the ground as he slashes at him with the kitchen knife, I felt, was superb.

By no accounts is this a perfect movie, it's actually quite average, but it is definitely worth a watch for any fan of 90's/old school horror. Don't expect to be wowed or deeply moved or anything, just sit back, relax and enjoy some classic horror.




Special Effects

Overall Rating: Going For The Jugular

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