Tusk (2014)

In an interview with Free Beer & Hot Wings, Kevin Smith said that people approached him after watching "Tusk" with one of two reactions, and his reply was the same. If someone said it was the greatest movie they ever saw he said "Isn't it!" and if they said it was the worst movie they ever saw, he said "Isn't it?"...and that's basically how I felt. Kind of the greatest, kind of the worst, and completely self-aware and apathetic.

Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment play Wallace and Teddy, podcasters from Los Angeles who specialize in weirdo stories. Wallace ends up in Canada, where a flyer in a random bar leads him to an isolated mansion, hoping to get stories from a man who had traveled the world. Mr. Howard Howe starts off telling stories of his interactions with Ernest Hemingway and his time traveling the seas. Things get darker and darker and his true intentions are revealed.

Howe is a disturbed person with a fixation on walruses. He has made several human-walrus-hybrids in the past, and his current victim is Wallace. Before the final surgeries, Wallace is able to call his girlfriend and his co-podcaster Teddy, which sets the rescue plans in motion. The Canadian Police aren't much help, but they run into a former cop who is tracking a serial killer that is believed to be experimenting on humans.

"Tusk" is clearly a Kevin Smith movie, featuring long monologues that Smith himself often admits are nothing like the way people talk in real life. The wit is there, the pop culture references are there, and it all feels comfortably Kevin Smith-ish. Where he loses it, however, is in some of the pacing. Certain scenes drag on far too long, and I felt like the entire third act was rushed for no reason. Momentum was building nicely, with some moments of genuine fear and tension, then suddenly the whole thing was over. It was as though Kevin Smith wanted to make a legit movie, taking an absurd concept but making it dramatic and realistic, and then halfway through said "nah, let's be goofy!" and just went nuts. I will give a slight bonus to Smith for surprising me with an extremely sad ending, but it wasn't enough to redeem the last part of the movie.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Tusk" gets a 4 out of 10.


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