Kevin Smith’s TUSK is Delightfully Insane [Movie Review]
From the man who brought us Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl, and a bazillion hours of podcasting comes the most delightfully insane film of the year – TUSK! Kevin Smith’s latest cinematic jaunt, born from a surprisingly complete idea improv-ed on a podcast with producer/BFF Scott Mosier, is a horror-comedy that comfortably leans in the comedy direction while providing just enough freshly disturbing and crazy shock moments to please horror fans. The film stars Michael Parks, Justin Long, Johnny Depp, Haley Joel Osment, and Genesis Rodriguez.
Failing to interview the latest Youtube “star” on a trip to Winnipeg, podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is determined to find a story worth bringing home to share with his co-podcaster Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment). A chance sighting at a urinal leads Wallace to the backwoods mansion of aging eccentric and adventurer Howard Howe. Unfortunately for Wallace there is only one thing on Mr. Howe’s mind – surgically turning guys into walruses. It’s up to Teddy and Wallace’s mistreated girlfriend Ally Leon (Genesis Rodriguez) with the help of a slider-eating detective & Quebecois, Guy LaPointe (Johnny Depp), to rescue Wallace’s humanity.
I do want to remain spoiler free, but to answer your first question, yes it GOES there! This is full on Jay & Silent Bob meets Slither by way of The Human Centipede. If that description does not entice you, then you should stop reading now and probably just go see Guardians of the Galaxy again. However, if this description gets your loins tingling and heart pumping with excitement, then you should absolutely go see this movie as soon as possible.
Cutting to the chase, this flick is ALL about Michael Parks, who gives a riveting performance that hits both the menacing and comedic (and comedically menacing) beats with perfection and total commitment. I wouldn’t have expected any less though from this legend who was equally intense in Smith’s non-comedy horror film Red State. Justin Long, of course, is great as a nerd-turned-douche delivering the performance of a just-likeable-enough victim to care about. Johnny Depp, characteristically a character in full-Depp wackiness, was probably my least favorite element of the movie, often slowing down the B-storyline when all I wanted was more Walrus-loving Michael Parks. However, his Guy LaPointe does make an excellent nemesis to the serious & illusive serial killer, Howard Howe. Ally Leon had some good moments, though Osment spends 90% of his scenes stoned cry-laughing – which I suppose he was decent at.
One of my favorite types of movies are the kind that are meant to be fun and where it is evident that all involved had a great time making it – and that is exactly what this is. This is a movie-lovers movie made by movie-lovers who have the power to do whatever they want without restraint or restriction. It’s not meant to be serious, although I’m sure there is some deep critique of the animalistic nature of man buried within it. It is extremely entertaining and takes things to levels of extreme and absurd that I truly appreciate. After several years of so-so movies, Mr. Smith has won me over again – and in a totally new way. Well done. #WalrusYes