Tusk: What the Actual Fuck?
Dir. Kevin Smith (2014)
A scientist decides to turn a man into a walrus. Holy fuck, that’s actually the plot…
Side note: I’m a HUGE Kevin Smith fan. Like, huge. I have seen every single one of his movies multiple times, I’ve listened to years of his Smodcast podcast, and I do my best to follow the careers of everyone within the View Askewniverse. When I heard that KS would be doing a movie about a mad scientist whose only desire in life is to merge human with walrus, I was… for some reason incredibly interested? To be honest, I was doubting Smith’s horror acumen, and while I appreciate his considerable skills at creating movies that me and other frat boys love, I questioned whether he would be able to pull off such an avant garde concept.
As usual, Kevin Smith was right and all of the doubters were wrong. Tusk is fucking amazing, and one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen. There’s the same Smith humor you either love or hate, especially during the podcast segments at the beginning of the film, but the biggest takeaway from that part of the movie is that Haley Joel Osment is old as fuck now. Justin Long is at his most Justin Long-ish in this film, which is to say he’s basically a douchebag that is perfect for the role of a douchebag who looks like Justin Long. But the real star of the show is Michael Parks, who is criminally underappreciated and may well be one of the best actors of our generation. He blows away expectations in his best role since the last time he played a crazy dude in a Kevin Smith movie (rest in peace you crazy old bastard).
I'm starting to wonder where you got your medical degree...
Tusk is a movie that will leave you mystified, either in absolute disgust or in complete and total rapture at having seen one of the weirdest films ever made. When the mad doctor’s opus is finally complete, what we are left with is not entirely human but not entirely animal, and the ethics involved in what to do with this genetically modified creature is actually kinda fascinating. Are we allowed to just kill him? Surely not, right? I mean, he’s kinda-sorta human, and we don’t allow people to just off their fellow citizens. Do we put him in a zoo and… oh, really? That’s what we do, we just put him in a fucking zoo? Well… alright then, I guess.
Seriously? That's that best you could come up with?
As the tears roll down Long’s walrus face just before the credits roll, we are left with jaws agape and minds blown. Kevin Smith called Red State a “brain chigger of a movie,” one that stayed inside your head well after the movie was over. Tusk, then, is a colossal mindfuck that shits inside the parts of your brain that were worth keeping. It is existential body horror in a more entertaining and humorous way than Cronenberg could’ve managed. How can you hate this movie?
Who this movie is for: Kevin Smith fans, Michael Parks fans, Walrus fans
Bottom Line: Tusk is amazing. This is a movie that you’re either going to love or hate, but if you hate it, you’re wrong. While it doesn’t fit with the rest of Smith’s catalogue, this and Red State leave one to wonder the legacy that Smith could have had he dedicated his career to making legitimate horror movies. I bet it woulda been a damn good one.