Director: Kevin Smith
Starring: Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment, Justin Long, Johnny Depp. USA 1h 45m.
I was so hyped to see this after seeing that it had made it onto the screenings at the Abattoir film festival in 2014 and we know they have good taste, twinned with the gross concept of a man being transformed into a walrus.. I was ecstatic.. but I didn’t realise who the director was, and no I’ve never heard his podcast.
Turn up the funny and maximise the strange.
Tusk is pretty much a tamer funnier version of Human Centipede (2010) I have to admit that it’s the two factors that would normally repel me, were actually fairly quirky and entertaining. Based around Wallace Bryton (Justin Long, an actor who will just NEVER AGE!!) who is a podcaster with his loyal buddy Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment – who obviously has been eating the dead people that he sees). While in search for the next big thing he ventures into uncharted lands to interview a kid as a prank (much to his beloved disgust) but not wanting to go home empty handed he finds an interesting “call me” in the toilets in a bar and follows up the story of mystery and intrigue, which leads him to the house of a disabled recluse who has many tales of being lost at sea and befriending a Walrus. Wallace wakes up with an amputated leg and then things only start to get seriously strange.
Blending comedy with gross horror is pretty common, but this story, as expected from Kevin Smith is just extremely worrying! The cast is great, there are a lot of experienced actors doing some really bizarre things. The main villain Howard Howe (Michael Parks) who can portray a real nasty character in his films, comes across as both a warm and inviting OAP as well as a demented psycho, coupled with the boyish antics of Wallace they pair together quite well, this shows in the initial meeting while Wallace is playing with the artifacts (including a Walrus penis bone) in the After the capture , Wallace wakes up with a missing leg, he gets this bullshit story about a spider that bit him and a doctor, and it’s during this scene that Howard literally transforms into a totally different character in both personality and physically. Johnny Depp makes a cameo as a Inspector Jacques Clouseau styled private investigator, donning lots of heavy prosthetics and a strange accent and together they hold this messy story together and make it strangely believable.
It will keep you laughing and gagging
The film feels quite dreamy at times, I think that’s the only way the brain will accept such a story, it does come across as an urban legend but retold by a granny with dementia. There is a great display of creative directing here, with unusual and dramatic scenes, filming for alternative rooms and it doesn’t rely on GC for the effects. After the barbaric Walrusification of Wallace
It really works as one of those zany films that hipsters and fans of the podcast will enjoy, but sadly as a horror film it’s just not making the cut. It has a creepy atmosphere, and a dark back story and is ultimately quite terrifying in its theory but it’s presented as a comedy and is quite light in it’s approach. It could have been amazingly disgusting, graphic and a bloody horror but it wouldn’t have suited this rendition of the film, it’s substance is in this warm and cozy psycho’s need of his ole faithful friend.. a Walrus that saved his life…
As the first installment of a trilogy of batshitcrazy films to come I think Tusk is brilliant, much in the same was that Bad Milo (2013) is a guilty pleasure I think this is an intelligent comedy horror that will gain some footing with fans of the cult SModcast.