YEAR OF RELEASE
October 18 1996
Dr. Alan Feinstone
Too many “look away” dentist moments to mention.
An overly meticulous Beverly Hills dentist finds himself unable to correct his one particular flaw: he can’t stop himself from subjecting his patients to torture even worse than one should expect from a dental professional–and then he kills them!
The Dentist is one of the most overlooked gems of the genre that to this day is still waiting to be discovered. Out of all the reviews I will do for this Slasherthon, The Dentist will probably be one of the smallest written reviews, not because I do not want to talk about it but there is not really much to say. The film is a simple A to B formula of the slash brigade, its so easy on the eye that you simply can not find any fault with it. It offers everything the average Slash fan wants and needs and it proved so popular that a sequel was made to again critical acclaim.
The title itself tells you all you need to know and expect from this film. Its all about Dr. Alan Feinstone, a dentist who is obsessed with cleanliness and hates the sight of dirt. He is already on the borderline of a mental breakdown and you know straight away that only one little thing will set him off. Spotting his wife getting down and dirty with the local Swimming Pool cleaner is the cue for chaos and mayhem and we the viewer share this journey with this mad man.
Heading back to his dental surgery with a waiting room full of patients, Feinstone tries his best to keep things normal. but the vision of his wife betraying him grows deeper inside his brain. Soon he sees venom everywhere, dirt is over everything and his once calm composure is virtually gone. He sees the perfect teeth of his patients has rotten and decayed and with no need of a kitchen knife, Feinstone’s own dental tools become a dangerous weapon and soon the bodies begin to pile up!
There is a deliberate slow pace to the whole film because we are seeing a complete breakdown of this man and the movie is quite wonderful in offering sympathy to the character. Yes he ends up being a killer with no remorse but all he wanted was a good life, a nice job and a loyal wife. With his business falling apart and seeing his wife doing the dirty deed, we can sympathise with such a lead, and when he is finally given his wife some dental treatment there will be a few of you who will no doubt think that the bitch deserves it!
Lets get to the question you all want to know….are the murder scenes good?
Even fifteen years on they still have this power to make you winch in your seat. The moment with the drill is one of the best moments in horror because it beats anything the much gorier and popular Hostel has to offer. If you are scared to go to the dentist then I really recommend you do not watch this because make no mistake, you will never ever go again. When his next intended victim sits in that chair and we get the close up of the gums then you really do start to look away especially when the blood and the noise hits your eyes and ears.
The Dentist’s biggest strength is the fact that its set up is so simple. There is quite an ingenious vibe going through the whole thing. First off is the idea of using the figure of a dentist has a bogeyman, secondly is having his victims come to him. I mean he does not have to lurk in the shadows or stalk babysitters, his meat are sitting in that waiting room just waiting for a call and that is one crazy but brilliant idea.
The film also benefits from the performance of Corbin Bernson who back then was well known for his turn in TV hit La Law. He is really off his head and well on the money for what he shows here and you can see why after this fans wanted to see him back again for a sequel. Bernson’s performance is one of the most overlooked in the genre and its a shame it never gave him a platform for bigger and better things. Keep an eye out for Mark Ruffalo in an early role, its funny because he has not aged one bit!
Directed by Brian Yuzna who was on a roll with the likes of Society, Bride of Re-Animator, Return OF The Living Dead III, his foray into the slasher genre is a wonderful entertaining trip that is one of the biggest cult films around.
Wits great music score, suspense, thrills and gore, The Dentist is a cut above most entries and while the sequel could not quite match what was on offer here, its still a decent follow up in which the review will appear on here soon!