2014 - Rated R
Written and Directed by Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith
Starring: Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Harley Morenstein, Johnny Depp.
Rating: 3 stars
Incredibly wrong, but incredibly funny. And Johnny Depp is in it!If you like completely whacked, somewhat disturbing, gross and yet hysterical horror comedy, then Tusk is worth a watch.
Written by Kevin Smith, Tusk splashes right out of Smodcast episode 259, a podcast hosted by Smith and Scott Mosier. Smith is well known for some other films, most notably Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and others from Smith's View Askewniverse.
Tusk contains some juvenile humor and obviously phony CG horror early on, but Justin Long's performance keeps the mood serious enough to hold our attention. Still, don't take it too seriously and you won't be disappointed. Just let it do it's thing.
Long plays Wallace Bryton a host of the Not See Party podcast. Wallace ventures into Canada to interview a teen, dubbed Kill Bill Kid, who accidentally cut off his leg performing a one-man Samurai sword skit.
Once he arrives in Canada — the exchange with border agent (Harley Morenstein) is hysterical and it's worth watching Tusk just for this segment alone — a tragic turn of events leaves Wallace without a story.
Luckily, while taking a leak in the restroom of a local bar Wallace discovers a lead to another potential story for the podcast, so he treks into the Great White North of Manitoba to interview a mysterious old seafarer, Howard Howe, about his adventurous life.
The roll of Howe is played expertly by Michael Park whom you might recognize from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films, Grindhouse, and other film and TV rolls including Death Wish V, From Dusk Till Dawn, Twin Peaks and The Equalizer.
I've been a Justin Long fan since Jeepers Creepers and even if any given film he is in is the dumbest ever, Strange Wilderness for example, his characters are still entertaining.
A funny moment in the film occurs just before the first major plot point, when Long's character sees an old bottle that Park's character is said to have given to Ernest Hemingway in the the galley kitchen on a boat during Operation Neptune, a codename for the landing at Normandy before the invasion.
The exchange is both thought provoking and humorous with youthful Wallace's ignorance of the profound idea the wiser Howe is trying to convey.
Looking at the bottle Wallace remarks, "Holy shit, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen."
To which Howe replies, "Well, it's just an old bottle. But if you combine it with the story then it becomes, if I may say so, a powerful talisman, a doorway to another time and place. Perhaps a drawbridge to history."
Wallace pauses, responds, "Yeah. So fucking cool." Then he notices the Walrus boner above Howe's fireplace and the film drags us down the rabbit hole into the rest of the twisted, ludicrous nightmare.
We sink in. Moment by quirky, curious, comical moment we are introduced to the real, demented horror comedy of Tusk, and the real message, campy monstrosities aside, is that we never really know what is true, what is false, what is just or unjust. We only know what we need, and the consequences of what we do.
I probably shouldn't be thinking so much into it. The film is completely weird and amusing in the sense that, in the end, well used film making devices can make us feel something for a guy sewn into a walrus monster.
Tusk worth a watch. It is less a horror film than a combination of fantastical farce, good acting, good writing and directing. Unexpectedly, it works in some strange way. It's funny, weird and somehow touching. Just goes to show what you can do with the right talent and 15 days of filming.
Two things. Johhny Depp is absolutely awesome in this film, and yes, they use the Fleetwood Mac song in the film.
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