The Dentist

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Horror

A film that might have given the Marquis de Sade a few chuckles, THE DENTIST is a splatter film awash in outre violence. In addition to being visually repellent, however, this is a smartly conceived horror pic that shifts focus between reality and the protagonist's distorted perspective of reality. Obsessed with cleanliness, upscale dentist Dr. Feinstone...read more

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A film that might have given the Marquis de Sade a few chuckles, THE DENTIST is a splatter film awash in outre violence. In addition to being visually repellent, however, this is a smartly conceived horror pic that shifts focus between reality and the protagonist's distorted perspective

of reality.

Obsessed with cleanliness, upscale dentist Dr. Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen) embarks on a snowballing descent into madness. Pressure from the IRS widens the cracks in anal-retentive Feinstone's perception of normalcy; his discovery of an affair between his pristine wife, Brooke (Linda Hoffman), and

his pool man drives him batty. Trailing the stud pool man to the home of his horny neighbor, Mrs. Roberts (Lise Simms), disturbed Feinstone shoots her watchdog. Losing his marbles at work, Feinstone injures a pediatric patient, overmedicates himself, sexually molests patient April Reign (Christa

Sauls), and arouses the suspicions of dental hygienist Jessica (Molly Hagen).

Surprising his wife on their anniversary, Feinstone disfigures Brooke's face with the tools of his trade. The next time the pool man shows up, irate Feinstone slits his throat. At the office, Jessica's intervention prevents Mrs. Roberts from receiving unnecessary, damaging dental work. When

meddling Jessica threatens to close down her boss's practice, Dr. Feinstone strangles her with April's discarded pantyhose. As cops investigate the dog-shooting at Mrs. Roberts, IRS official Marvin Goldblum (Earl Boen) forces delinquent taxpayer Feinstone into free dental work; Feinstone

transforms Goldblum into a freak. When Feinstone's other assistant, Karen (Patty Toy), spots the mutilated tax collector, Feinstone also murders her. Meanwhile, the cops find the slain pool man and the deformed Brooke. After terrorizing a teenager set for braces-removal, Feinstone holds a college

dental clinic at gunpoint. Finally, the police arrest Dr. Feinstone, the Sweeney Todd of dentists.

Without its far-out gross-outs, THE DENTIST might have been even more frightening, because the film constantly unbalances the audience by altering Dr. Feinstone's perceptions. We're inexorably drawn to the narrowing universe this madman inhabits, a world where the dentist feels honor-bound to

purify the "unclean." Certainly, with its stomach-churning scenes of torture, THE DENTIST plays to wider thrill-seeking audiences; its grotesquerie is so outrageous, it becomes comical. And yet, THE DENTIST might have aspired to a subtler, less hokey domain, that of the psychological thriller,

such as REPULSION (1965). In its state of Grand Guignol-overkill, this offbeat chiller is bound to offend those viewers who wish the offspring of Sam Raimi and Stuart Gordon would learn the use of filmmaking restraint. For more bloodthirsty fright fans, the biggest problem isn't the film's

excessive violence, but its failure to call it quits when the film hits a horrifying peak. Prolonged by Dr. Feinstone's gun-toting visit to his teaching venue, the film should have ended at the dentist's clean-up campaign in his office. This creepy film causes one's goosebumps to break out because

of one's latent paranoia about phobic professionals like Dr. Feinstone. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, adult situations, sexual situations, substance abuse.)

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A film that might have given the Marquis de Sade a few chuckles, THE DENTIST is a splatter film awash in outre violence. In addition to being visually repellent, however, this is a smartly conceived horror pic that shifts focus between reality and the prot… (more)

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