Spoilers will rot your teeth.

Okey, I have to confess in hindsight that this film can be very sweet. Yes, it depicts some harsh realities that a couple of years ago would remain in the screen firmly rooted in dystopian fiction. Now, they merge with our current everyday narrative. My challenge as the series progresses is to look beyond the adorable cute overload and onto the storytelling. It’s effective, because if it were for the cuteness I would’ve stop watching long ago. There are moments that are so close to Disney-levels of saccharine that I was thankful for the bitterness stepping in.

(Credit: Netflix)

Sweet Tooth (2021) is a series created by Jim Mickle and Beth Schwartz based on the comic written by Jeff Lemire for DC Comics’ Vertigo. Civilization has been broken down and the world has gone into disarray. A virus known as H5G9 or just simply called “The Sick” has led to an event called “The Great Crumble”. Simultaneously, babies known as “hybrids” have started being born, half-human and half-animal. One of such is Gus (Christian Convery) a deer boy hybrid who has been raised in the wild by his father Richard “Pubba” Fox (William Forte). Ten years later, Pubba has been taken by the Sick and Gus runs into a group of hybrid-hunting people known as the Last Men. After being saved by Jepp “Big Man” (Nonso Anozie), Gus is determined to go out into the world find his mother in a place called Colorado. He’s sure that Jepp can take him there, but Jepp isn’t convinced.

This is both a kid-driven movie and not a movie for kids. If you want cuteness overload, the casting is right on the money to the point I had to double check I was watching Netflix and not Disney Plus. However, despite the narrator’s tones (it’s James Brolin) this is definitely a story for adults, although it adopts a fairytale style most of the time. People will perish and characters will be put in danger. Despite all that, it does contain almost unfair levels of hope and wonder all due to Gus who steals every scene he is in. Although Jepp is mostly the more reasonable adult, we’re drawn to siding with the deer kid.

The series does take its time getting the cast in the same place, but it does a good job of creating an engaging story for each of its characters. Dr. Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar) left his medical profession but is drawn back into it for the sake of his wife Rani Singh (Aliza Vellani) who is infected but somehow has managed to survive so far. Aimee Eden (Dania Ramirez) has stayed away from the world and sequestered herself inside the local zoo but eventually ends up rescuing an abandoned hybrid baby pig girl she names Wendy (Naledy Murray). We’ll later meet Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen), the leader of a group of kids called the Animal Army, dedicated to save and protect hybrids. Finally, we have our big bad himself, General Abbott (Neil Sandilands) who leads the Last Men.

Recommended with reservations. Yes, it plays up its adorable factor to the point that the tone shifts between adorable kid fairytale and tale of post-apocalyptical dystopian world. However, the characters are engaging specially when we consider a lot of them are flawed and have had to compromised their ideals to survive. It’s not casual, so audiences here should know what they’re getting into. Parents might need to pre-watch before they’re willing to have their kids in the audience. If you are willing to put up with some adorable cuteness and bittersweet moments, you might want to add it to your watchlist.

That will do for now.