Early on in "Hatchet Job: The Making of The Tooth Fairy" featurette on this DVD the actress who plays the titular character in human form comments that this movie is not for little kids. I mention this because at one point in this direct to video 2006 horror film I was actually thinking that the best explanation for what was happening was that this was indeed a horror movie made for little kids. But that was before the combination decapitation (male) and topless (female) scene, which made it clear that they really were not making "Baby's First Horror Film," even if the ending is as family oriented as any horror film I have ever seen.
We begin back in 1949 in Northern California when Elizabeth Craven (Karin Konoval), a disfigured witch, developed the nasty habit of killing young children after they had lost their last baby tooth. Then we jump to the present, where young Pamela (Nicole Munoz) and her mother Darcy Wagner (Chandra West) are spending the weekend at the newly opened bed & breakfast of Peter Campbell (Lochlyn Munro). Of course the B&B used to be Elizabeth Craven's creepy old house and guess what happens to Pamela when she falls down and bangs her face? You get the general idea, which is really all you are going to get because it was never clear to me why killing kids after taking their last baby teeth was so important to the old witch. Pamela makes friends with Emma (Jianna Ballard), who is obviously a ghost. This matters because since Pamela is the only real kid around the Tooth Fairy is going to have to start taking out the adults at the B&B (which includes a brief appearance by P.J. Soles from "Halloween"). When the Tooth Fairy kills her first victim I did not understand why she was doing it, but then I realized the motivation was essentially the same for the killing as it was for the choice of the method, a woodchipper: because it was there.
While I did not know anything about "The Tooth Fairy" when I put in the DVD to watch, my expectation was that it would not be like "Silent Night Deadly Night," where a maniac pretends to be a fictional character beloved by children. Indeed, this is more of a supernatural tale that essentially reveals the twisted truth about the kindly tooth fairy who gives kids money for their baby teeth. In folklore the Tooth Fairy is traced back to European stories of elves and brownies who would do helpful tasks or trade treasures for items humans considered useless. But there are also superstitions about how discarded body parts such as teeth or hair could be used for black magic, and this is the approach taken in "The Tooth Fairy" (I have to admit I was hoping for more of an evil elf, like when Anya reveals the myth about Santa Claus being a myth on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). However, while that was the approach and while there are the ghosts of dead children running around to lend pathos of the proceedings, in the end "The Tooth Fairy" is a basic splatter flick with an old fashioned hatchet as the weapon of choice.
I just did not connect with this hybrid supernatural slasher flick with the little girl as the heroine, even though individually those elements are okay (I was less impressed by Chuck and Henry, the "Deliverance"-type tag-team at the local gas station). You know, if "The Tooth Fairy" had come out in the heyday of the slasher film would have seemed a lot better than it does against the current crop of gore fests, so you will either tolerate it or hate it. In addition to the aforementioned featurette in terms of extras on the DVD there is another promotional quickie and then "Loose Tooth," the audio commentary with director Chuck Bowman, producer Stephen J. Cannell, and actor Jessie Hutch. Note: "The Tooth Fairy" is not to be confused with "Tooth Fairy," a 2004 Amazon Theater short with Chris Noth that featured Jeff Bezos as a security guard.
Final Note: This was the movie where I first looked at the Plot Keywords for the film at the International Movie Data Base. The top ten keywords for this movie were: (1) woodchipper, (2) topless, (3) mulching a person, (4) tooth fairy, (5) tooth extraction, (6), slasher, (7) redneck, (8) nail gun, (9) haunted house, and (10) gore. I wanted to make a point about the relative inaccuracy of this particular list (the hatchet is way more prominent than the woodchipper even if not as memorable and the topless scene is done to set up a joke and not to provide titillation), but I quickly became distracted by the fact that you can click on a keyword and actually come up with the top movies on the IMDB for each category. "The Tooth Fairy" comes in 16th of 17 films featuring "tooth extraction" ("Schindler's List" and "Finding Nemo" are one and two because the movies are organized by their IMDB ratings), but 7th of 10 films on the "woodchipper" list ("Fargo" is only #3, although "The Tooth Fairy" did finish ahead of "Woodchipper Massacre"). This particular feature is going to be a constant source of amusement for me for some time to come.