Tusk is a horror comedy film directed by Kevin Smith. The plot sees internet famous podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long), go to Canada in search of a weird story for his podcast, there he meets Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a man who is obsessed with bring his dead best friend Mr Tusk (a walrus), back to life. What follows is an increasingly menacing situation as Howe tries to turn Bryton into a human walrus hybrid.
This film marks the start of Smith’s True North trilogy, (which as of the time of writing only has Yoga Hosers as the other film in the trilogy), however unlike Hosers, this film is tonally a mess. Yoga Hosers was a comedy from the get-go, it didn’t take itself seriously and was slightly serious at times. Tusk, however, has moments when it tries to be serious and dark and moments that are comedic and over the top, these two parts of the film don’t mesh together and feel at odds with one another. It seems to be as though Smith couldn’t make his mind up over how he wanted the tone of this film to be.
The performances in this film are a mixed bag, one the one hand you have Parks who plays the crazed walrus fanatic superbly; he is menacing and threatening whenever he is on screen. However, Long is not a convincing hero, his Wallace is deeply unlikable (before you even find out how bad he is towards his girlfriend), from the moment he opens his mouth he is irritating. As a result of this you end up wanting him to suffer and be turned into a walrus as it seems a fitting punishment.
Johnny Depp as disgraced detective Lapointe is easily the best thing about this film and much like in Hosers has all the best lines. He is the only character you will remember once the credits role.
Overall, this is a weak start to Smith’s trilogy as it is tonally inconsistent and Long is loathsome. However Parks and Depp make up for it. A very so-so film.
It is an interesting idea.
Reviewed by Luke