Have you ever thought to yourself "Why aren't there any good movies about people being surgically transformed into walruses set in Canada?" If you have then 'Tusk' just might be the movie for you. Kevin Smith's film 'Tusk' is a film with a deliberately campy feel. At the same time it is legitimately scary and dark and has a lot to say about relationships whether they're between a stranded man clinging to life and a Walrus or two lovers who are growing apart.
The gist of the plot is simple. Wallace (Justin Long) is a young and rather douchey podcast host who lives in America and travels to Canada to interview a guy who accidentally injured himself playing wit a sword in an online video. Once in Canada Wallace discovers that the guy he has come to interview has committed suicide. Rather than give up and accept having nothing to talk about in his next podcast Wallace finds a man named Howard Howe who is looking for a boarder in his large home and claims to have many stories to tell. He visits Mr. Howe (Michael Parks) who drugs him and begins transforming him into a rather grotesque looking Walrus.
A few reviews I've looked at focus on the radical shift in tone and feel that comes roughly halfway through the movie when Johnny Depp's character is introduced. This is at first a return to a more pure campy feeling as the main story slowly becomes darker. Depp's character Guy Lapointe is a former detective who has devoted his life to hunting Mr. Howe who is a notorious serial killer. Depp's character is incredibly eccentric and at first hard to take serious. Having read some particularly negative reviews I was ready for him to ruin the movie for me. This was not the case. Guy becomes more complex when he reveals he had come into contact with Mr. Howe without realizing it and now lives with extreme guilt for the lives that have been lost.
Speaking of characters who are more than they seem. Mr. Howe has lived a long and 'interesting' life. He was orphaned as a child and used by various authority figures and other children sexually and for personal gain. This is implied to have left permanent emotional scars. Later he becomes stranded on a small island with only a walk named Mr. Tusk for company. They became close friends. Unfortunately as food became scarce and hunger took over he was forced to kill and eat eat Mr. Tusk. Shortly afterward a ship arrived and rescued Mr. Howe. This is what ultimately drives him into insanity which brings him to change unsuspecting people into his departed giving him a chance to live again.
At the heart of this movie is the relationship between Wallace and his girlfriend Allison (Genesis Rodriguez). Wallace cheats on her pretty much every chance he gets and she in turn is romantically involved with Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) the co-host of his podcast . Allison feels that Wallace has become distant from not only her but also the person he once was, Wallace no longer cries as he doesn't not feel this is manly. He has become cold, totally selfish and uncaring. What he goes through makes him no longer a man but somehow I believe a better person. Maybe those two can work it out. That is if Allison has some kind of Walrus fetish.
'Tusk' is a one of a kind movie. . It's different in a really brave and interesting way. It's the sort of thing that probably wouldn't exist without marijuana. I encourage all horror fanatics and enthusiasts of the weird to see 'Tusk.' After all man is a walrus at heart. Let's all put two flippers together for Kevin Smith's 'Tusk'.
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