From the second I walked out of this screening of Kevin Smith’s new movie Tusk, I immediately looked for the nearest shower to wash away the stench of this absolute turd of a movie. It is hard to fathom a talented and creative genius such as Kevin Smith could create such drivel. A movie spawn from a story that originated on Kevin’s SModcast, this much anticipated horror dramedy represents a huge step back in the career of Kevin Smith. The film is a true example as to why the general public should never be allowed to champion a grassroots campaign to get a film that even remotely resembles the absolute shit show that is Tusk made. I wish I could stop right here but as a writer I must carry on…for you…the people.
Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is a shock jock podcaster who thrives on the absurd and unusal. In order to keep is audience entertained, Bryton and his long time co-host Teddy (Haley Joel Osment), Wallace searches out the stories that keep him interested. When a particular story of a youtube sensation falls into his lap, Wallace takes off to Canada to interview the young man, but upon arrival things don’t go particularly as planned for him. In order to try and make sure the trip isn’t a total waste, Wallace searches hopes to find another source for a story and he finds it on the bathroom wall. A handwritten letter by an aging old sailor with stories to tell of adventure and times past.
After traveling several hours from his previous destination, Wallace arrives at the home of Howard Howe (Michael Parks) and the two begins to converse over tea about Howe’s storied past. Howard, as it turns out, has a particular fondness for the Walrus and an even more distaste for the human species. Wallace succumbs to a sedative slipped into his tea and wakes up the next morning where he is confined to a wheelchair with no escape from the mad man who has lured the unsuspecting podcaster to his ultimate fate, to be transformed from a human into a walrus.
After receiving a strange phone message from a already missing Wallace, Teddy and Wallace’s girlfriend Ally (Génesis Rodríguez) decide to head to Canada to find answers into the disappearance of their friend. The duo are quickly introduced to an ex-cop named Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp), who’s first hand knowledge of an infamous serial killer leads the three to team up to investigate Wallace’s disappearance. As the three search for answers, will they find Wallace before Howard Howe’s sadistic plot is carried out to fruition?
Tusk is a film that started off with so much potential but was ultimately driven into the ground by it’s ridiculous premise. Part Human Centipede, part Misery, part comedy, the film offers roughly 15-20 minutes of a decent horror premise only to see the remaining hour and change filled with uneven storytelling. Smith, known for his plot detours and his long winded dialogue, delves into flashbacks and back stories so far fetched and unnecessary that the film steers off course long enough for you to wonder if you left the iron on in your house.
Just as the film begins to find its footing, Smith sidesteps the horror angle of the film, and for some unknown reason, decides to inject an off kilter performance by one Johnny Depp as the almost unrecognizable detective on the trail of the killer. The introductory scene is one of the most cringe worthy performances of Depp’s storied career and one that added no value to the overall quality of the film. The performances of Justin Long and Michael Parks are rather fantastic in the beginning of this story but are mainly wasted by the insanity that engulfs both characters for most of the film. Génesis Rodríguez shows some intersting sparks of brilliance in her emotionally charged scenes, but her character is given nothing more that processed lines to utter for most of her scenes. Haley Joel Osment really offers very little to the film other than a body to go through the motions, which is a shame cause his character was ripe for some potentially scene stealing dialogue, sadly none ever came.
Overall, Tusk is a movie to avoid at all costs unless you are a diehard Kevin Smith fan…and even then proceed with caution.
1 1/2 out of 5