Tusk is the first installment of Kevin Smith’s new three part movie series taking place in Canada. The following films will be Yoga Hosers (2015) and Moose Jaws (2016). These two future films look like they will be part of the horror-comedy genre as well. I am all for campy, outrageous films, but I am sad to say that Tusk was somewhat of a disappointment for me. Nonetheless, it is highly entertaining so I can’t wait for the other two films.
The idea for this film came from a podcast so it only seems natural that they have the main character Wallace (pun definitely intended) as a podcaster. Wallace and his buddy, Teddy, run a comedy podcast covering true-life, weird and unusual stories. Loud-mouth and unfiltered Wallace goes to Canada for a story and that’s when he meets Howard – a rich, wheelchair bound man with an eclectic home with historic talismans full of personal stories. Wallace thinks he has found his perfect wacko when Howard tells him a story about being saved by a walrus when his boat sank at sea. Wallace doesn’t know just how wacko this guy is until Wallace wakes up drugged with an amputated leg.
The casting is spectacular. Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers, Accepted, Dodgeball) plays this obnoxious character well. (Long will also be in Yoga Hosers.) The more we learn about his character, the less likeable he becomes, almost to the point where you feel like he deserves this ill-willed fate… almost. His friend, Teddy, is played by Haley Joel Osment – the kid from Sixth Sense! Where the hell has he been? Obviously putting on some weight. Michael Parks (We are What We are, Red State, Planet Terror, Death Proof) plays creepy Howard down to a T. We even have a really funny cameo by Johnny Depp, who is almost unrecognizable in the film.
The amputated leg is only the beginning of the horror. (Spoilers ahead if you really don’t know where this is heading.) Howard reveals he has been constructing the perfect walrus suit that would fit Wallace nicely. “If you wish to continue living, you will be a walrus or nothing at all!” A walrus, it is. The reveal of Wallace as a walrus is SO freaky. Think of Howard as the mad doctor from Human Centipede, but with a lot more laughs.
There are a lot of good things to say about this film, but I think the absurdness is taken just a little bit too far. I was prepared for a silly movie but I started losing interest towards the end of the film. It ends up not really being a horror movie and is outshined as a comedy. I appreciate the boldness and backbone of the film, so for that reason it is well worth the watch.
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