Director: Kevin Smith (2014)
Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment
Find it: IMDB
Either wonderful or dreadful. I honestly couldn't say which. I know, as a professional (shut up) film critic (no, shut up, I am) that's not what you wanted to hear, but I really am torn asunder by Kevin Smith's Tusk. Spoilers follow, because this is not a movie I would want to discuss without talking about Long's transformation (that's really not a spoiler), the ending or Johnny Depp.
Justin Long plays annoying podcast jockey Wallace Bryton, travelling to Canada alone in search of material for his 'Not-See Party' show, co-hosted by best friend Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment). There he meets Creepy Old Man Howard Howe (Parks) whose advertisement he finds in a bar toilet. Travelling to the old man's house on the promise of interesting stories, Wallace is drugged and incapacitated, Howard's intention being to turn the poor fellow into, well, a walrus.
If you thought that The Human Centipede would have been vastly improved by Justin Long squealing like an idiot in a rubber walrus suit while Johnny Depp eats fast food in a prosthetic nose while doing a terrible French-Canadian accent, then, boy, is Tusk the film for you. To be fair, that does actually sound better than The Human Centipede. Its a film ruled by its tone deaf performances - with Long going terribly broad while his co-stars go for earnestness (Haley Joel and Genesis Rodriguez), sinister ham (Parks) and whatever the fuck it is Johnny Depp is doing. There's no sense of coherence to Tusk, from its pacing to its tone. It feels thrown together by a director high on weed and his own fans - as though Smith couldn't stop laughing at his own joke for long enough to reign his actors in.
"But he was so good in Edward Scissorhaaaands"
In a movie in which Justin Long is transformed into a walrus, it's to Smith's testament that there are far odder things going on elsewhere. I refer, of course, to a ten minute conversation between Parks and Depp in which the former pretends to be mentally handicapped and the latter probably is. I'm not quite sure what Johnny Depp is playing at here, but at least it's preferable to the Captain Jack Sparrow act he's been doing in almost every single thing else that isn't animated or his 21 Jump Street cameo (yes, we all saw you doing the Captain Jack dance in The Tourist, don't deny it) since Pirates of the Carribean.
Stolen from Google Search, who stole it from Something Awful, who stole it from Kevin Smith
Who stole it from The Human Centipede and Ssssss, sort of
As for the walrus suit? Far be it from me to criticise Mr. Howe's hard work, but it doesn't even make sense, physically or logistically. At least it gets rid of Long's stupid moustache though, and mostly shuts him up. It's far too well-lit in a film which is otherwise gorgeous and Gothic-looking - as impossible to take seriously as Johnny Depp's fake nose and Boss Eye. Still, it is effective enough during the film's big (surprisingly bombastic) action climax and weirdly emotional end.
If this review makes it sound as though I hated Tusk, I apologise. No, I loved it - I loved it for the things it does well and I loved it even more for the things it does badly. In a modern horror scene awash with shitty found footage nightmares, brainless remakes and straight to DVD zombie bollocks, Tusk at least tries to be original. Look, during the endlessly long days working retail, my stupid buddies and I used to brainstorm ideas for the totally hilarious and awesome movies we'd one day make, outside of our endlessly long retail jobs (hello time travel blaxploitation Black the Ripper); Tusk is the equivalent of that - a daft story, dreamed up by a silly pothead and his silly friends, given a (relatively) decent budget and (relatively) massive release. Kevin Smith is living the dream. You gotta respect that. #TuskYes? #TuskFuckYeah