The year: 1949. The location: a small town in Northern California. Two brothers decide to visit local hermit, Mrs. Craven, who is rumoured to be a witch and is willing to trade children gifts for their last baby tooth. One of them is brave enough to enter her house and is offered a shiny new bike for his tooth. It sounds like a good trade but, alas, it's not as he's killed by our deformed Mrs. Craven when he tries to flee the house.
We fast forward to present day where Darcy (Chandra West) and her ten-year-old daughter Pamela (Nicole Munoz) have come to town for the weekend to visit with Darcy's estranged boyfriend Peter (Lochlyn Munro) who's converting Mrs. Craven's old house into a quaint little bed and breakfast.
Along the way Darcy is accosted by two foul-mouthed gas station attendants who hurl threats at her, attempt to rape her, and smash a window on her car when they find out where she's headed (this is our first inklings of how poor the script is when these events just seem to come out of nowhere as West's character just stopped to ask for directions).
After all this drama they finally arrive at the house, where Darcy and Peter continue to have small spats, Pamela befriends an old fashioned girl called Emma (who it turns out is really a ghost and starts to warn her about 'The Tooth Fairy' and how Pamela will be killed if she gets her last tooth), and a couple of guests show-up to fatten the amount of 'victims' on hand.
The weekend goes from being a quiet time in the country to an outright nightmare as everyone has to contend with the asshole-ish gas station employees, who it turns out were squatting in the house and kicked out by Peter, as well as with the ornery Mrs. Craven (who is never established as a ghost or just a really, really old woman) who's come back for Pamela's tooth and will bloodily kill anyone who gets in the way.
Marking the fourth collaboration between IDT Entertainment and Stephen J. Cannell (the creator of such hit television shows as The A-Team, The Rockford Files and 21 Jump Street), The Tooth Fairy is a horror movie that managed to piss me off quite a bit. It wasn't because it's generally a poorly written effort with a similar premise than 2003's Darkness Falls (only without the flashy effects and generally well established back story on the main baddie of that movie), but because they go out of their way to tell us that Mrs. Craven is a witch only to deliver a movie that never once has anything supernatural happen in it instead being content to be a slasher movie retread as our "Tooth Fairy" wanders around trying to look menacing in a black robe while chopping people up with an axe (or in one, quite awesome, case feeding someone through a bark mulching machine).
It's almost as if Cannell and his co-writers Cory Strode and Cookie Rae Brown were too lazy to flesh-out the story, perhaps thinking that if they threw enough blood at the screen fans of this type of thing would be distracted away from their shitty story. But even then, The Tooth Fairy is pretty damn tame until people start getting killed off in a flurry in the final third.
Plus, considering all the things that are going on, not one character really seems overly scared or concerned about it as the actors come across as very calm at every turn. Generally, though, the acting isn't too bad with Munoz an okay kid actor, Carrie Anne Fleming supplying the "skin quotient" as lodger Star, and P.J. Soles (who we'll forever be reminded appeared in the original Halloween) showing up as the crazy old next door neighbour merely for the "name recognition" factor.
I think the main thing that sums up why The Tooth Fairy fails as a horror movie can best be explained by comments by Cannell and director Chuck Bowman within the "making of" featurette on the DVD - they admit they've never made a horror movie before and wanted to try it... you know what? It shows. (Chris Hartley, 1/10/07)
Directed By: Chuck Bowman.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell, Cory Strode, Cookie Rae Brown.
Starring: Lochlyn Munro, Chandra West, Steve Bacic, Nicole Munoz.