This film may be upsetting to sensitive viewers. If you’re keen on a dark comedy, which this has been described as, you’re in for a surprise. It’s more dark than it is comedy. Tusk starts out in a lighthearted fashion with a cynical podcaster who’s out to collect weird and interesting stories.
You get the feeling, very explicitly, that our main character Wallace (played well by Justin Long) is a good guy who’s turned out to be a bit of a douche because of his success. He runs a rather sardonic podcast that provides random commentary on weird and wonderful things of the internet. Also, his mustache almost foreshadows the horror to come.
Wallace goes out to Canada to get an interview with an accidental YouTube sensation, but when that falls through, he searches for something new, so as not to waste the trip. It’s at this point that he finds an interesting letter on the wall of a pub toilet, where an old man by the name of Howard Howe seeks someone to tell his stories to. Too good to be true? Probably.
This chance meeting of Wallace and Howard will lead to some of the most f#cked up torture and human mutilation you can imagine, as Howard turns Wallace into a Walrus, both physically and mentally.
Yes, you read that right.
I think what carries Tusk well is that there is no lack of conversation. This film could easily have spiraled into purely physical torture with poor dialogue; but it doesn’t. I especially enjoyed Michael Parks as Howard Howe, skillfully depicting crazy with well-crafted sentences that echo solitude and deprivation.
In the fateful meeting between Howard and Wallace, in an almost Hannibal-esque fashion, Howard comments on the primitive nature of man, and especially his next victim who stands before him. You see it coming, and you want Wallace to get the hell out of there! But he doesn’t…
Howard later describes, in painstaking detail, his life growing up: How his parents were murdered, how orphans were sent to insane asylums, and how he was tortured and sodimised in these places. And how he eventually ended up on the ship that would lead him out to sea, and complete his journey to madness as the ship capsized and he met his companion, Mr. Tusk.
Johnny Depp too was most enjoyable as Detective Guy Lapointe, talking almost aimlessly about his favourite things to eat, and his investigation thus far, making so much sense even in these rather whimsical tones. Genesis Rodriguez plays a really convincing loving, unfaithful girlfriend, while Haley Joel Osment (Where has this guy been?) fills in the spot of best friend and co-podcaster fairly well.
Tusk left me feeling a bit violated, as if I had been mutilated and tortured into walrusness. It’s definitely not a film for the faint-hearted.
Favourite Quote: “I don’t wanna die in Canada”
See it/ don’t see it: Tusk is something you could watch if you’re into the more gory, twisted kind of horror, or if you have a really dark sense of humour. I mean really dark.
About the Author: Stephen is a filmmaker and critic who loves horror and gore, but this one was a bit hectic. Also, go and Tuskify yourself here >>> tuskfilm.com