Director: Yorgos Lanthimos (2009)
Starring: Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley, Aggeliki Papoulia
In the interest of full disclosure: I myself was homeschooled. Whilst I was never treated to a lexicon of bullshit words, incest and mouthwash torture, the events of Dogtooth aren't exactly outside the realms of possibility. This one time, I met a kid who slept with a samurai sword under his bed and was withdrawn from school because Mom & Pop disapproved of dinosaurs. But enough of that, because no-one cares. It's an intriguing concept, and one which is milked for all its worth by director Yorgos Lanthimos.
In Dogtooth, three teenagers are sealed away on a country estate with doting but strict Mum and Dad. None of the kids have ever seen the outside world, and Mum seems content enough to stay locked away. Only Dad ever leaves their home. See, the kids believe that it's a dangerous world out there. Only when you've lost your left or right 'Dogtooth' (situated somewhere in the back of your mouth) are you old enough to go outside. Otherwise, death awaits. Ma and Pa's motivations are never really explained, but their education of the kids basically consists of teaching them bollocks definitions ("a zombie is a small yellow flower", a telephone is a salt shaker and a keyboard is a vagina) and hitting them with video tapes. The kids are also told that cats are really dangerous creatures, capable of climbing through windows to bash you one with a hammer. And Grandpa was Frank Sinatra. Also, it's perfectly fine to bone your brother. One scene sees the siblings naked in a bath as brother gropes first one sister's boobies/buttocks and then the other's. Another sees Younger Sister offering to lick out Big Sister's 'keyboard'. It's like a Greek Oldboy crossed with The Village crossed with Mum and Dad.
What with the naturalistic performances, explicit sex scenes, low-key cinematography and lashings of nudity, Dogtooth is about as arthouse a movie as one could expect to find this side of a Lars von Trier. We know that it's arthouse because none of it is really arousing and they do it with their socks on. And as such, the movie's not very accessible nor is it particularly interesting to lovers of plot or things happening. With not much happening in Dogtooth, it would be remiss of me to spoil that which actually does. It may not be horror proper, but there's enough here to disturb and peak the curiosity of even the most hardened horror fan. The incest is a bit much though. It's the inaccessability and lack of purpose that holds Dogtooth back from greatness. Somewhere towards the end, it seems like it's amping up towards a big happening - but not much does. It sort of just, well, ends. Like this.