Dogtooth (2010)

Don’t worry, it gets stranger.

This film is about a husband and wife who keep their children imprisoned on their property into adulthood. However, things start to go arise once an outsider pops into their house and throw some knowledge on the kids that they never had before.

Sounds pretty weird already but trust me, it gets a whole lot worse baby. Greeks are definitely a lot more freaky then I ever expected.

I don’t know where to begin with this review only to say that I wasn’t expecting what I got here. Yes, the premise sounds weird and seems like something that could be played out to an inspirational tale showing how people should live free and not be taken back by barriers. Nah uh, not this movie. Instead, this is one freak show of a movie that starts off strange and continues to get that way, except that it’s also very watchable at the same time too if you can get past a lot of things that usually upset the regular-viewer.

Even though it’s a big movie that can only be told with one statement (WTF?!?), the film actually has a whole lot of moments that had me laugh, which is a very big surprise. The whole film is one big satire of what a normal families conventions are and just how this very weird family, decides to take all of that and live their own, effed-up way. Since these kids are so sheltered away from the rest of the outside world, they don’t really know what the real terms for certain words are because the parents feel like they want to fuck them up more in the head, then they already are. For example, one of the kids asks what the word “pussy” means and the mother says a bright light, or another example is like when they ask what the word “zombie” means and they tell them its a tiny, yellow flower. Stuff like that made me laugh and caught me off guard especially when one of the girls actually asks for the “telephone” at the dinner table, and she gets a salt shaker instead. Clever, but also could have been a lot funnier if it wasn’t in something that was so damn disturbing.

As the story does progress, and the weirder it gets, you actually start to see this film pick up some more steam and get a lot more tension to it then you actually expected in the first place. You start to feel a lot for this kids, considering they have no idea what the hell is going on outside in the real world and it’s actually pretty sad after awhile. But then things start to change for these kids and they start to get more wiser and realize more things about the world and it just made me root them on more and hate those damn parents of theirs. Then again, those parents were also my biggest problemo with the flick as well.

I can understood some parents wanting to keep their kids away from the horrors of the outer-world, so they cut down on TV time, keep them away from sweets, and watch the type of gang they’re hanging out with. However, I could never understand a family going so far as to keep their own children, locked up in their own place where they can’t do anything but compete with each other, play games that tests each other’s ability to do certain things, read up on fake information, and never know anything about what’s going on out in the world. But then these parents will argue and say that they shouldn’t see the world because of how bad it is, but do they really think they’re making it any better?

Rather than just listening to me ramble on and on about how dumb of an idea this is for a parent to actually use on their own kids, I’ll just get to where my main point of anger was towards. I didn’t like the parents here, mostly the dad, because I felt like they were so stubborn, so controlling, and so unbelievably harsh with all of his rules that it never made any sense as to why he would even do something like this in the first place. The kids barely ever question it so therefore, the point is never brought up but still, some sort of understanding as to how and why somebody would want to do this would be awesome for me to hear. Instead, the film just focuses on these kids and as compelling as that may be, I still wanted the father to get the shit kicked out of him and just when I thought he was going to, the film pulled one out from underneath me and made me wish for me. Maybe it’s a good thing that I hated this guy so much because I was supposed to but either way, I just wanted something more. Sounds vague, I know, but there was just some sort of missing piece here to the whole big puzzle.

I can’t really go very far and talk about these performances, mainly because they are all pretty good and their names may be a little too hard for me to pronounce. They all do great jobs, considering some of the situations they are placed in and since it’s all so serious with this premise, they are all great at deadpan. So great, that it’s actually terrifying at points. Good job Greeks!

Consensus: Dogtooth is one of those flicks that you can’t sit down, watch, and enjoy. Instead it’s one that messes with your mind, disturbs you, and makes you feel anger towards some of these characters, but then again, that’s sort of the point so good job on their behalf. Some will love it and some will definitely be freaked out by it.



  1. Don’t think I have ever seen a Greek film and this one sounds like quite a difficult watch. If you want to read up on an even more horrific real life tale that’s kind of along these lines, check out the story of Genie the ‘feral child’.

  2. I agree, this movie is one to trip up your head, not entertain your mind. I think that’s a fair way to look at it, but regardless, I love the hell out of it. Movie blew me away. SO messed up.

  3. I’m not sure that this is really the right word to use but since you ‘liked’ Dogtooth you should keep an eye out for Alps, the directors next film. It’s just as weird but less alienating so you laugh and feel like you were supposed to have laughed, are shocked and feel like you were you supposed to etc. Not sure if I would say that it’s better, but it is easier to like while still being very interesting.

    Good review too, always good to see you review something from off the beaten track Dan.

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