My History With the Film:
I always assumed that Teaching Mrs. Tingle was a horror/comedy film. Then I finally got around to watching it in early 2018 and realized that there was nothing horror related about this film at all. Similar to my review for Gossip, I’ve decided to press on with the review because if I was misled by the marketing, I’m sure others were too.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
After being accused of cheating, three high school students accidently take their teacher hostage.
What I Liked About It:
-I love the cast of this film. You have the always great Helen Mirren joined by Jeffrey Tambor along with the kids: Katie Holmes, Barry Watson, and Marisa Coughlan. It’s an excellent cast who all do well by their characters. I was especially impressed with Marisa Coughlan and am surprised that this wasn’t a huge breakout role for her.
-Once I got over the shock that this wasn’t a horror film (maybe I was mixing it up with Teaching Mr. Griffin?) I started enjoying the movie. It’s mostly a comedy that does have a little heart. Having come out in 1999, I could see how this film may not have found its audience though. It’s not quite cute enough to be in the “She’s All That” group, not funny enough to be like “10 Things I Hate About You” and not gross enough to be in the “American Pie” camp. It’s a film that stands alone in its own little genre and I can see why the marketing department had such a hard time selling it.
-I love Kevin Williamson’s dialogue and it’s on full display in Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Lots of random references and fast, intelligent discussions.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The movie is not good. The script is lacking any real substance and it feels thrown together. The film never knows what it’s setting out to say and because of that you feel lost throughout the entire movie. I think the cast was really dedicated to their roles, they just didn’t have enough to work with. Despite all of Katie Holmes charming attributes, it just isn’t enough to save this film.
-The film was originally titled Killing Mrs. Tingle, but after the Columbine shooting the movie was pushed back and retitled to Teaching Mrs. Tingle.
-Gillian Anderson turned down the role of Mrs. Tingle.
-The film was originally shot to be R-rated but the studio decided to try and maximize their profits by turning into a PG-13 film.
Killing Mrs. Tingle was a disappointment and not just because it wasn’t a horror movie. I have a feeling that the studio snatched up the script because Kevin Williamson’s name was on it and at the time he could do no wrong.
Teaching Mrs. Tingle is a two and a half out of five.