EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH (2015)
Director: Terry Miles
Writer: Terry Miles
Stars: Kirsten Prout, Tiera Skovbe, Michael Karl Richards, Patrick Gilmore, Garrett Black, Jameson Parker, Gwynyth Walsh, Chelah Horsdal, Graem Beddoes, Christian Sloan
Need another good rape/revenge thriller? Writer/director TERRY MILES is only too happy to oblige with EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH. But be forewarned: these cute little ‘lambs’ are anything but ‘silent’, contrary to what the opening sequence, including a group of friends partying on ecstasy, might tell you otherwise.
Besties Sloane (KIRSTEN PROUT – KYLE XY) and Katie (TIERA SKOVBYE – ONCE UPON A TIME and RIVERDALE) have planned an adventure: to go work on an organic farm to make some money, so they can finance a shopping spree in NYC. Everything’s fine with Katie’s mom, Abby (CHELAH HORSDAL – THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE) who’s taking a trip of her own. But her paranoid uncle, Jason (MICHAEL KARL RICHARDS – SGU: STARGATE UNIVERSE), a detective with the FBI as his day job, isn’t taking any chances. He sets things up with the girls to make sure they check in with him, so he knows they’re okay.
And they are…at least when he drops them off where the bus is supposed to pick them up and take them to the farm. But the girls, who happen to like cute boys, of course, meet two locals, brothers Jed (GARRETT BLACK) and Lucas (JAMESON PARKER), who offer to give them a lift.
Apprehensive at first, (and rightfully so, as it turns out later) the girls go with them, and the guys take them on an unplanned detour to their place – a farmhouse doubling as a restaurant, where they “introduce” the young ladies to their mother, (GWYNYTH WALSH – NYPD BLUE and DAVINCI’S INQUEST). Everything seems kind of okay…until they try the boys’ mother’s delicious pie, which has a very special ingredient: sedatives.
When the girls come to, they find themselves chained inside two shipping containers that have been converted into makeshift ‘living quarters’, out in the middle of nowhere. They soon realize, via the actions of Jed, Lucas and their boss, Boris (PATRICK GILMORE – SGU: STARGATE UNIVERSE, THE KILLING and GRACEPOINT) that they are the latest victims and “offerings” of a backwoods sex trafficking ring. And it seems there’s only one way out of their situation…and the news isn’t good.
But we’ve come a long way, baby, from the two ‘lambs to the slaughter’ who were butchered in the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Different time, different women. These ladies will soon have payback on their minds, and the last thing anyone should do is underestimate them…which it seems that everybody does. Much to their regret – and undoing.
EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH will have some viewers rolling their eyes pretty early on, already savvy to plot holes and a lot of unrealistic things that occur, during the girls’ bloody “payback party.” But since when did it ever matter in ANY movie of this stripe? Vigilante/vendetta films are almost never about realism. What they are about is revenge, and LAMBS delivers it in spades, laughing knowingly all the way.
It’s already been established early on that even though they’re ‘nice’ girls, Sloane and Katie aren’t exactly squeaky-clean angels. But they’re downright saintly, compared to the men who kidnapped them, and definitely compared to their abusers: closet pederast Sheriff Andrews, (CRAIG MARCH); the deeply disturbed sicko only known as “Cigarette Man” (GRAEM BEDDOES), and a guy in a pig’s mask who makes the two of them look like boy scouts, played by CHRISTIAN SLOAN (RIVERDALE and DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY). The true identity of ‘PigMan’ probably won’t shock or surprise anyone into the horror genre, but to his credit, Sloan’s unhinged performance reminded me no less than that of Anthony Perkins‘ wild turn in Ken Russell’s CRIMES OF PASSION.
It’s always satisfying to see the bad people get theirs in these films, since it doesn’t always happen in real life, and Miles makes sure we get to enjoy every second of the girls getting their payback on these pernicious people. There’s just enough gore here to satiate the ‘hounds in the audience, and sorry, guys who are looking for it – no gratuitous nudity. Which in this case, isn’t even necessary. The writer/director makes the audience employ their imagination a lot of the time, which is always a smart move.
An odd mix of folk-rock with a bit of synths thrown in, the songs, and the score by DAN SORCE, are contemporary but not jarringly so – kind of today’s answer to David Hess’ unforgettable music from the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. (No ‘trap music’ here, thank Gawd.) And ANNA MACDONALD’S vivid photography takes every advantage of the beautiful-yet-appropriately-gloomy British Columbia locales.
EVEN LAMBS HAVE TEETH was entertaining enough for me to rate three-out-of-five stars. I don’t know if “enjoyable” is an appropriate word for it, but you will not be bored.