The Dentist 2

Director: Brian Yuzna (1998)
Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Jillian McWhirter, Jeff Doucette
Find it: IMDB

Dentists tend to get a bum rap in popular media, largely depicted as wimps or losers (Stu in The Hangover or Ben Harper in the risible British sit'com' My Family). Not so in Brian Yuzna's Dentist films. There is no way on Shub Niggurath's green Earth you'd get me sitting in that scary bastard's chair. There's a scene in which the good Doctor sells the values of friendly dentistry. It'd be a good speech, were it not delivered by a man scarier than Herbert West, Evan Giggles and Doc Heiter put together.

In The Dentist, it took the might of Ken Foree to bring Doctor Feinstone (Bernsen) to justice. But now he's escaped from his friendly neighbourhood mental institution and is posing as small town dentist Dr. Caine. There's a real effort to make Feinstone a sympathetic character in the movie's opening half, showing his struggle with inner demons and desires; the man just wants to settle down and fall in love, but everywhere he goes, he's tormented by other people's crap teeth, oral hygiene and bad manners. Eventually he has little choice but to succumb and start killing shit.

The Dentist 2 is sequelisation at its best. The bodycount is higher, the gore more plentiful, the one-liners funnier ("pulling teeth is like... pulling teeth") and the lead actor more comfortable in his role. The man is terrifying in a way that Freddy, Jason and Michael could only ever hope to be. The lack of any real threat to Feinstone is noticeable (okay, I just missed Ken Foree) but there is a nice bit where he carves up That Guy actor Clint Howard (credited here as 'Mr. Toothache').

It doesn't quite have the original film's bite (boom boom) but more than makes up for that with lashings of blood and tooth trauma elsewhere. As a fellow always terrified of the dentist, this sort of thing does not help. I cringed during all of the tooth torture scenes, and even looked away at one point. The Dentist 2 is a terrifying movie. But for all that yuck, the movie's very final scene is probably one of the funniest endings to a horror movie I have ever seen, and a very perfect goodbye to the utterly terrifying Doctor Alan Feinstone.

[Insert line about never ever wanting to go to the dentist again here].

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