EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH (2015)
Written and directed by Terry Miles
Best friends Katie and Sloane are looking forward to working at an organic farm in a small Washington townfor a month to earn spending money which they intend to spash on a shopping spree weekend in New York City. Promising Katie’s watchful uncle, FBI Detective Jason, that they will contact him daily via txt and with a safeword, the girls decide to explore the town whilst they wait for the bus which will take them to the farm. Unfortunately for the girls, they never make it to their intended destination and instead are kidnapped by a family of psychopaths. Subject to physical and sexual abuse and with everyone in the town seemingly in on the seedy plans, the girls must do everything in their power to survive and escape their sick, twisted captors.
EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH is a tale of two halves: part dark horror, part revenge thriller. The first half of the film deals with the kidnap and abuse of Katie and Sloane (Heather) who naively decide to accept a ride off two young men in the local diner. The second part of the film shows how these two young women fight back and get revenge on their tormentors with glorious use of nail-laden tennis balls, baseball bats and a grass strimmer. With a taste for comedic violence in the latter half, the duo unleash their dark side which is highly entertaining to watch even if it is a bit exaggerated. The first half of the movie convinces more as a true tale of human inflicted horror whilst the latter half prefers to take a humorous, almost caricaturish direction in its quest for blood and justice, something which horror fans will lap up.
Despite the dark places that EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH goes, it manages to retain a black humour to it especially in the latter end of the film. My favourite has to be a scene which involves Katie’s uncle Jason who’s investigating their disappearance. Needing the address of a suspicious vehicle, he visits the local insurance office run by elderly twin sisters. When describing the truck, he makes a reference to the vehicle’s crude bumper sticker which he reluctantly fully discloses to the ladies. Their reaction is priceless as one sister is clueless whilst the other one is very much aware of its meaning which results in hilarity.
Actresses Kirsten Prout (Sloane) and Tiera Skovbye (Katie) are perfectly cast as the BFFs. Katie is the reserved one, the one who refuses to take drugs despite peer pressure and the one who questions whether it is safe to trust the two young men in the diner. Sloane is the feisty free spirit, the one who acts first and thinks later and prefers to live life on the wild side. Their combined attitude is infectious and a joy to watch as their friendship bounces off the screen. When they’re captured, the viewer genuinely feels concern for them and thus every painful attack is felt as if it was our own. When the girls do fight back, we get a sense that justice will prevail, much like the scenes of revenge in I Spit On Your Grave (2010). Whilst many of the bloody scenes themselves occur off-screen, they still have the desired effect upon the viewer. These scenes don’t seem to affect the girls as you would expect them to, which is where the film appears to cross over into purely entertainment fare and leaves the realism behind, but is enjoyable nevertheless.
Wonderfully shot with a gripping, well-paced script and some clever ideas for torture scenes that will be sure to shock audiences, EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH shows that horror movies don’t need to be all doom and gloom.