2014 / Director. Kevin Smith.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
TUSK has already been covered here when Jarret reviewed it a few months ago. Despite one niggling qualm he held it in high regard and it made his top 10 list of best films for 2014. And so now that I've seen it for myself (finally) I wanted to double up on reviews and share my own thoughts.
"Perplexing" is the best word to describe my experience with TUSK (and it IS an experience). My mind was in a constant state of conflict as I was trying to decide whether I loved it or loathed it... oddly there is no middle ground. As the final act kicked in I was almost resolved to loath the film but then from out of nowhere a sensational musical interlude burst onto the screen and I bore witness to one of the greatest movie duels I have ever seen. It was this moment that settled it... I fucking LOVED TUSK. The film was conceived during one of Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier's podcasts where they fleshed the story out in an on-air discussion. The concept was so outrageous that it seemed near impossible to pull off. So audacious is its story that only pure absurdity would sell it. It was the balance of genuine drama and grotesque horror with oddball comedy that kept me undecided. Justin Long plays a podcaster who travels to a remote area of Manitoba in Canada to interview a recluse who promises the story of a lifetime. The podcaster passes out and wakes to find himself bound to a wheelchair with a leg missing. The reclusive old man is played by Michael Parks and his intentions are horrific. The next revelation might be a spoiler to some (so stop reading if you're sensitive to spoilers) but the poster art kind of suggests the horror anyway... the old guy has it in mind to turn the podcaster into a walrus (tusk 'n all). I wont reveal anything else because you really do need to experience it. I had issues with a lot of the dialogue, mostly Michael Parkes'. It seemed forced and over the top... and it dragged the first act out almost painfully. I also had problems with some of the SFX in the later stages of the story. There are...lets say... "creature creations" that are pivotal to the entire film and yet they were not conceived or executed very well at all. Of course this is a low budget film and such an extravagant and indulgent and concept must be given some leniency. For all of its shortcomings TUSK is a brazen and highly original horror film that definitely won me over in the end. I wasn't bothered in the least by what many consider to be the movie's biggest downfall (an uncredited A-list role). This inclusion was farcical to the point of being "Clauseau" but I found that such a jovial and intentional diversion was necessary to pull the whole thing off. TUSK is something special and it's a very welcome step in the right direction for director Kevin Smith. With RED STATE also behind him and another comedy-horror (a TUSK spin-off) in the works he is reclaiming a lot of credibility that he let slip away over the past decade. TUSK is something to behold!