Tusk follows podcasters Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) and Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment). Their show, the “Not See Party,” focuses on finding and mocking humiliating viral videos. Having secured an interview with one of the YouTube stars, Wallace travels to Manitoba.
Having been informed that their guest has now committed suicide, Wallace manages to meet a creepy Vincent Price-like character named Howard Howe. Claiming that he’s had a very storied and unique life with tons of good stories to tell, Wallace jumps at the chance to spend time with Howard and rectify the story that he had previously lost.
Having drugged Wallace, Howard holds him prisoner as he informs Wallace his plan to turn him into the only friends he’s ever known. A Walrus.
What follows is a disturbing downward spiral where Howard’s mental state starts to deteriorate and reveals the sick monster within. How does one change a human into a Walrus? You really don’t want to know…
The Good – Justin Long and Michael Parks
With such a hard pill to swallow of a premise, you better have some solid lead actors to make up for it and Kevin Smith manages to pull this of with Justin Long and Michael Parks.
The dynamic between these two characters was very enjoyable to watch. Kevin Smith loves to write a lot of dialogue for his films and when you are have the right actor speaking his words, great things can happen. Michael Parks chews on this scenery with effortless ease as Howard regales Wallace of his time as a seaman and his personal friendship with Ernest Hemingway.
Once Wallace becomes a prisoner of Howard’s, Justin Long delivers an A-level performance of fear and terror. It was fun witnessing him stretch his legs as an actor be given the chance to do something different that we haven’t seen him do before.
The Bad – The ENTIRE third act
Two words. Whiplash effect. Once the film gets going, you start to give into the premise and get on board. It strings you along, you take the bait and are left wondering where the film is going next.
Then, out of nowhere, it loses the audience completely.
Kevin Smith has gone on record saying that Tusk is the first in a three part film series named the “True North Trilogy”. It suggests that the next two movies he will be making will still be in the world that Tusk was created.
Enter the character Guy Lapointe, a detective in the film who would make Inspector Clouseau roll in his grave. The film completely changes focus to Guy’s backstory and derails the whole momentum.
Guy has been following Howard for a long time now and goes on to explain to Wallace’s friends how he began chasing this Walrus serial killer. Problem is… no one cares!
The performance of this character is so over the top and cliché you just want the screen to turn off. The actor playing this role is a very prominent one, which made me think, was Kevin Smith just too scared to say cut?
This character will also be in Kevin’s next film Yoga Hoisers, in which he will have a much more significant role. So you can just feel Kevin’s predicament where he had this really solid film and then, ineffectively, shoved this character in our faces just so he had some sort of link to the next film.
All at our expense. Not cool Smith, not cool.
Tusk is inspired by an episode of Kevin Smith’s podcast Smodcast, where he read this wanted ad for a roommate that stated whoever moved into the room had to act like a Walrus.
To be able to create an entire film off of that alone is a great experiment in its own right and would have almost worked had they not just thrown the movie under the bus with the deplorable third act.
This is the most bizarre, twisted and strangely original film you will see this year. Horror genre fans will eat up and jump through all of the hoops this film will throw at them.
As much as I can appreciate creativity and weirdness, this film fan can’t just seem to love a film just purely for its weirdness sake.