Even Lambs Have Teeth Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Matchbox Films
Written and Directed by Terry Miles
2015, 76 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on June 20th, 2016
Kirsten Prout as Sloane
Teira Skovbye as Katie
Michael Karl Richards as Jason
Craig March as Sheriff Andrews
“You’re feeling better” – a collection of words which should be uttered in no rape revenge movie ever, no matter how satisfying the vengeance might be. Enter Even Lambs Have Teeth, in which two rape survivors enact righteous retribution upon those who have wronged them. And a jolly good time they have doing it, too.
Looking to raise money for a big shopping trip in New York, Sloane and Katie take jobs as farmhands in a small rural town. A definitively bad idea already (have these girls never watched The Monster of Mangatiti on Netflix?), and a plan so stupid they don’t even make it to the farm before being kidnapped by the very first people they meet. Unfortunately, all of this is heading exactly where you think it might be headed, and the girls are immediately forced into rural sex slavery. Locked away in shipping containers in the woods, Sloane and Katie are visited by a series of monstrous men who would have their way with them. Or, more specifically, just Sloane. Few punches are pulled by Even Lambs Have Teeth, but the one taboo it consistently shies away from is the rape of its nominal lead, Katie – as though writer/director Terry Miles thought it wouldn’t be much fun to have both of his leading ladies be too traumatised.
Katie’s standing there shoulder to shoulder with Sloane when it comes to the revenge part of the rape/revenge, more than happy to do her bit. It’s like an upbeat (no, really) modern Grindhouse take on The Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave remakes and sequels, depicting the girls’ revenge in brutal detail. All of the usual bases are struck, including (but in no way limited to) hanging and forced sodomy, committed with a smile and a cheer, all in the name of girl power. And it’s this which interests Miles far more than emotional depth or exploring the aftermath of what the young ladies have been through.
Not that anybody really wants to sit through another Baise-Moi, Irreversible or I Spit on Your Grave - but the tonal jerk from unpleasant rape horror to kick-ass revenge movie is so hard that the film nearly left me in a neck brace with its bizarre whiplash. “You’re feeling better,” says Katie, shortly after their first murder, flying directly in the face of most revenge movies which claim that violence can never heal violence. It’s triumphant and kick-ass, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the case, disregarding the elements of trauma which might bring the mood of Even Lambs Have Teeth down, concentrating only on the cheer and bombast of a revenge well done.
Not that we want to see Sloane and Katie suffer more than they already do either. It’s a brave choice in an even braver movie – going for a (black, admittedly) comedy tone in a rape revenge movie. It’s like the incompetent cop and the chickens scene from Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left, played out for the whole film. Often, however, it actually works. A subplot in which Katie’s Liam Neeson-esque relative attempts to find and rescue the girls is subverted beautifully, while the film’s villains are wittily depicted and suitably loathsome.
As it should be, given the subject matter, Even Lambs Have Teeth makes for difficult viewing. Sad, slippery and, yes, incredibly satisfying, this is a difficult one to get to grips with - an exploitation film with real bite.