It wouldn't be the Sundance Film Festival without provocation aplenty. Sex. Drugs. That devil's music they're calling "Rock N' Roll." While last year's slate seemed more partial to the drugs (Half Nelson, Sherrybaby, TV Junkie), this year I've seen more sex than Colin Farrell's ceiling mirror. (You know that dude's got a ceiling mirror.) The biggest story, of course, centered around Dakota Fanning's loss of innocence in Hounddog (see my thoughts on the film here), but that was hardly the only sex-heavy film folks have been buzzing about in Park City.
Is bestiality becoming an annual event at Sundance? A year ago, people couldn't stop talking about Stay (released in theaters as Sleeping Dogs Lie), Bobcat Goldthwait's romantic dramedy about a woman who did the unspeakable with a dog. Now we have the documentary Zoo, which attempts to uncover the mystery surrounding a Washington state man's death as the result of having sex with a horse. While the gross-out factor was a given, the film was less sensational and more tame (pun intended) than I'd expected. The movie's also dull -- it's mostly a series of stale reenactments mixed with interviews with other zoophiles who repeatedly attempt to convince us that what they do is perfectly moral (they just "love animals more than you do"). I spent most of a long 80 minutes thinking of alternate titles for the film, like Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex With a Horse But Were Afraid to Ask or What's So Wrong With Doing a Horse?
As saucy premises go, the feature's equivalent to Sleeping Dogs Lie in '07 is undoubtedly Teeth, a film that was co-bought by Weinstein Co. and Lionsgate for $1 million earlier this week. The extraordinary plot in a nutshell: A teenage girl (rising star Jess Weixler) discovers she has teeth down there (mythical term: vagina dentata) and uses the mutation to defend herself from various threats in her sleepy Texas town. The feature-length debut from Mitchell Lichtenstein (Winner, Best Director Name, 2007), the film is essentially a Vagina Monologue as a horror film. It's sick and twisted, comedy at its very blackest, and I loved every minute of it.
Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer sticks to what he apparently knows best with his latest effort, Black Snake Moan: music and sex in the Dirty South (Dirty sex for short). Christina Ricci plays a superfreak so super-freaky that after Samuel L. Jackson's god-fearing bluesman finds the battered, scantily clad girl unconscious on the side of the road, he chains her up in his house to "cure her" of her sickness. The sickness? She'll readily have sex with anything that moves, so long as that thing is a male human. The absurdity of the plot made the film a little harder to swallow, but Brewer once again crafts an unlikely crowd pleaser. He has quickly established himself as the foremost feel-good pimps-and-hoes movie director in Hollywood.