The opening narration of "Tooth and Nail" will absolutely drive you up the wall. Writer-director Mark Young ("Southern Gothic," "Dead Bodies") wants to tell the story of a small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, so he needs a rationale for getting rid of two-thirds of the world's population. So what does he come up with? The world runs out of gas in 2012. That means--wait for it--there is no electricity, because there is no gas for the trucks to take the coal from the mines to the electrical plants. Really. Detroit kept making gas guzzling cars instead of switching to hybrids or even electric cars (duh). Without electricity, civilization falls and Darwin's survival of the fittest comes into play with a vengeance rarely scene outside of post-apocalyptic horror films. There was a reason why in "The Day After" there were only vague hints as to why the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were lobbing nuclear missiles at each other, because the whole point was to show what the aftermath of a nuclear war would be like rather than come up with a plausible scenario for such insanity. Your mind can just explode pointing out the problems with this scenario. Just know that the scenario in "Tooth and Nail" is stupid and decide to either go with the premise and see what Young does with it or hit the eject button.
Watching these Horrorfest films is becoming an exercise in movie math, by which I mean that you can describe these movies by adding together movies that you have seen before. This may be a way of reaffirming that there is nothing new under the moon when it comes to horror films, but it seems it is pretty much impossible to watch a horror film that does not remind you of other films you have seen. So in "Tooth and Nail" you have a group of young people in Philadelphia trying to survive the end of the world as we know it, like in "Dawn of the Dead" (and countless other films), holed up in a hospital like in "Halloween II," where they are assaulted by a gang that look like rejects from "The Road Warrior" who happen to be cannibals, but more in a "Cannibal Holocaust" kind of way that the Hannibal Lecter culinary approach to eating human flesh. The cannibalism part bothers me from a practical standpoint, because I do not really see the need to turn to human flesh. Of course having seen "I Am Legend" I would have to think it would be easier for animals to overrun Philadelphia than it was for them to overrun New York. But this is a world devoid of rats and squirrels or dogs and cats, as well as solar power or wind power.
Everybody has code "Top Gun"-like names, such as Jackal, Mongrel, Darwin, Neon, Viper, Dakota, Nova, etc. By the time you get to Shepherd and Wolf the film's master metaphor should be painfully clear. In terms of familiar faces in the crowd there is Michael Madsen as Jackal, a Rover who likes to hum a happy tune. Robert Carradine, is trying to play the role of the professor for this group of castaways, has a familiar name, but his father, brothers, and daughter are all better known as actors. There are also an interesting pair of Horrorfest double-dipper, with Rider Strong from this year's "Borderland" and Rachel Miner from last year's "Penny Dreadful" showing up. This is one of those movies where they avoid telegraphing who is going to be "the last man standing," so you might as well enjoying finding out who that ends up being instead of me revealing that aspect of the film here.
The best part of "Tooth and Nail" is the ending, and I am not just being snide and saying that because of feelings of great joy that the movie was over. Given the lame premise and the impulse of the characters to behave stupidly, it was nice to see somebody use their brains at the end. I liked the ending, and in a world where I am usually woefully disappointed by the endings of horror films, that is enough to justify rounding up on this 2007 film. I should also add that for all those times you wonder why people in a horror movie in desperate fear for their lives would take time out to have sex, this film provides a pretty realistic reason for one couple to do so. However, once again all we get for special features on the DVD are the Miss Horrorfest contest webepisodes, which I am starting to take as a bad sign. With the first crop of Horrorfest DVDs there were scads of extras; so far I have only watched three of the second set of 8 films 2 die 4, and already two of the DVDs have nothing new in terms of bonus features. Is Lionssgate pinching pennies or are these writer-directors simply unwilling to push, or even just stand behind, their work? Something to mull over before the next Horrorfest offering: "Crazy Eights" ("No secret stays locked away forever").