After witnessing his wife (Linda Hoffman) engaging in sexual acts with the pool boy, the already somewhat unstable dentist Dr. Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen) completely snaps which means deep trouble for his patients.
This delightful semi-original and entertaining horror flick from director Brian Yuzna was a welcome change of pace from the usual horror twaddle that was passed out in the late Nineties. Although The Dentist' is intended to be a cheesy, fun little film, Yuzna ensures that the movie delivers the shocks and thrills that many more serious movies attempt to dispense. Despite suffering somewhat from the lack of background on the central characters, and thus allowing events that should have been built up to take place over a couple of days, the movie is intriguing, generally well scripted and well paced which allows the viewer to maintain interest, even during the more ludicrous of moments. The Dentist' suffers, on occasion, from dragging but unlike the much inferior 1998 sequel, there are only sporadic uninteresting moments, and in general the movie follows itself nicely.
Corbin Bernsen was very convincing in the role of the sadistic, deranged and perfectionist Dr. Alan Feinstone. The way Bernsen is able to credibly recite his lines, especially with regards to the foulness and immorality of sex (particularly fellatio), is something short of marvellous. While many actors may have trouble portraying a cleanliness obsessed psycho without it coming off as too cheesy or ridiculous, Bernsen seems to truly fit the personality of the character he attempts to portray and thus makes the film all that more enjoyable. Had The Dentist' not been intended to be a fun, almost comical, horror movie, Bernsen's performance would probably have been much more powerful. Sadly, the rest of the cast (including a pre-fame Mark Ruffalo) failed to put in very good performances and although the movie was not really damaged by this, stronger performances could have added more credibility to the flick.
The Dentist' is not a horror film that is meant to be taken seriously but is certainly enjoyable, particularly (I would presume) for fans of cheesy horror. Those who became annoyed at the number of Scream' (1996) clones from the late Nineties may very well find this a refreshing change, as I did. A seldom dull and generally well paced script as well as some proficient direction helps to make The Dentist' one of the more pleasurable cheesy horrors from the 1990's. On top of this we are presented with some particularly grizly and (on the whole) realistic scenes of dental torture, which should keep most gorehounds happy. Far from perfect but far from bad as well, The Dentist' is a flick that is easily worth watching at least once. My rating for The Dentist' 6.5/10.