Director Ryan Spindell’s short horror film is something of sheer brilliance if only for the fact that he perpetuates the horror of the dentist. Going to the dentist is something no one enjoys doing and “The Root of the Problem” plays upon that fear by taking a young woman and putting her in to the hot seat of delirium and what may or may not be a heinous plot to take her wisdom teeth.
Allison Gallagher is Mary, a young housewife who has decided to go to the dentist for a check up. The world she lives in is the pastel colored world of the fifties where innocence is the prevailing atmosphere, and director Spindell undercuts that with the menacing dentist’s office. Soon enough Mary begins to suspect something is awry with the dentist and his lovely nurse Su. Both of whom are acting quite suspicious, but once she’s given a dousing of anesthesia, she begins viewing them as something other than doctors and nurses. Spindell plays with audience’s perceptions very well, making us wonder what Mary is watching and perhaps if we’re just seeing something that her hysteria is magnifying in to something more heinous than it already is.
It doesn’t help matters that the characters within the office act completely abnormal. The Doctor takes an especially zealous fondness for Mary’s teeth while regaling her about the grim origins of the tooth fairy, all the while Su is sneaking around corners and rigging Mary up in to a vulnerable position for them. The performances all around are top notch with Ptolemy Slocum playing the ominous dentist to perfection. The fact he’s a dentist is harrowing enough, but his eagerness and aggression toward Mary make him a creepy antagonist. There’s also the very fetching Brea Grant who is memorable as Nurse Su, who may or may not have ulterior motives. Much of what occurs is really left up to the viewer to interpret as when Mary is pumped full of anesthesia, there’s a lot left ambiguous and what we see may not be what reality is completely. “The Root of the Problem” is a creepy and very slick dark horror comedy and one I highly suggest for fans of fantasy.