Tusk – Should I Watch It?

Intro to… Tusk
When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Kevin Smith movies. Clerks, Dogma, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, these were all brilliant to me. Smith spoke to my generation in ways that other directors did not. He approached us like we were adults, and he addressed topics that we found important. Tusk is his latest movie and was released last year, and I finally had a chance to see it.

The Plot
Podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) publically humiliates weird/stupid people on his show the Not-See Party. His latest target is a Canadian kid who accidently cut of his own leg with a sword. He flies over to Canada for an interview but upon arrival finds out that the kid committed suicide.

Bummed out on not getting his interview Wallace heads to a local bar where he finds an ad that intrigues him. A world savvy elderly man by the name of Howard Howe (Michael Parks) offers free lodging and amazing stories. Wallace decides to visit him in the hope that this could compensate for the loss of his interview.

The ad rang true and Wallace is offered a free room for as long as he wants. That very night he sits down with Howard who awes him with his adventures as a seafarer. He tells him of the time he met Hemingway and how he was once saved by a walrus. It is around that time that the sedative Howard had put in the tea kicks in and Wallace falls down to the floor.

When Wallace comes by he finds that he is missing a leg. Howard explains that a venomous spider bit him and that the doctor had to resort to amputation. Wallace does not believe him and the play-pretend quickly stops. Howard’s demeanour shifts 180 degrees and ominously explains that walruses do not need legs, and that this was only the first step of his transformation.

Should I Watch It?
Talking about movies that are really out there. We have a serial killer that transforms his victims into meat sacks that resemble walruses. Tusk tries to be both a comedy and a horror movie but sadly fails in both.

There are plenty of attempts of humour in the movie, but the delivery tanks just as many times. Besides thinking about the narrative itself, the only time this movie made me laugh was at the very end. The final scene is so bizarre and preposterous that it turns comical. It ends on a truly ingenious note. The horror is done better than the comedy but fully relies on the intensity of the Howard Howe character. Do not expect any gore or disturbing scenes as all the mutilation is done off screen.

The reason I used to be such a fan of Kevin Smith is because his scripts always included a lot of subtext and social commentary. This opened up room for discussion on topics often considered somewhat taboo such as religion, sexuality, and ethics.

Unfortunately this is not the case with Tusk. After watching the movie I found out that this movie was based on a story of Smith’s podcast. I do not follow his podcast so I am not sure if this is the case, but the idea of collectively creating a story and actually bringing this to the big screen is really cool. Regardless if the movie is any good, it will still bring a special experience to a large group of people.

But here is the thing. I did not follow this podcast so I am presented with a movie, not an experience. And as a movie Tusk is really bad. The story is ridiculous, the little bit of CGI is so awful I thought it was a joke, and the practical effects are not much better. The acting, on the other hand, is decent. Justin Long plays his role well, Johnny Depp does his usual thing, and Michael Parks puts down a performance that is nothing short of riveting. But alas, the pros do not even come close to the cons and it actually made me wish I were part of the Not-Seen Party.

No, don’t watch it.


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