18 December 2014

TUSK (2014)

TUSK

USA, 2014
Director: Kevin Smith

3/10











Before I share my thoughts about this movie with you, I'd like you to lean back, relax and click the Play button of the video below...



The 1979 song "Tusk" is probably the greatest and most impressive thing Fleetwood Mac have ever done. Three and a half minutes of sheer power and energy. A fascinating and intriguing alltime classic that will never lose its magical appeal, no matter how often I listen to it. Now this song is one of only very few great things about "Tusk", the latest movie by Kevin Smith, an overrated filmmaker that I despise for his arrogant I'm-so-fucking-cool-attitude, his childish attacks at critics who don't like his movie and his obvious overuse of weed...
an overrated filmmaker that I still respect for the way he revolutionized indie cinema in the 90s ("Clerks", "Mallrats").


"Tusk" follows Wallace, a successful podcaster ("The Not-See Party" podcast) who travels to Manitoba to do an interview with the internet celebrity Kill Bill Kid. There, he gets abducted by an insane walrus-obsessed ex-seafarer who wants to turn Wallace into a... um, Walrus by sewing him into a life-size Walrus-costume made out of human skin...


As ridiculous as it may sound, the basic storyline of "Tusk" is simply genius. When I first heard about it, I was immensely intrigued, immensely excited for it. Unfortunately, the final product is an incredible disappointment that feels more like an idiotic "Human Centipede" ripoff and surely is one of the worst films Smith ever did, maybe even his worst. What starts out as absurd, but slightly disturbing body-horror flick, soon becomes a stupid, unfunny and unenjoyable piece of low-grade horror-comedy junk. I'm not sure if Smith couldn't decide what tone/style/genre he wanted "Tusk" to be, or if he simply failed on successfully combining horror with comedy. Either way, the movie simply doesn't work.

Ok, there's definitely a good movie hidden inside "Tusk". I mean, the first half hour is pretty tense and eerie, especially due to the impressively creepy perfomance of Michael Parks (love the scene where he starts to sing "Itsy Bits Spider"). There's also some more neat acting by Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment, some fantastic music by Christopher Drake ("Batman: Under the Red Hood") and, as above-mentioned, Fleetwod Mac's "Tusk", accompanying one of the movie's few really superb scenes (Parks and Long fighting each other wearing Walrus costumes).


As for everything else... blech. The pacing is horrible. Most of the time, it's too dull, too slow, while several parts in the second half feel rushed and botched. Several monolugue/dialogue-heavy scenes seem to go on and on and on, especially the ones with surprise cameo Johnny Depp whose performance is so goddamn awful, it's embarrassing. The humor is dumb and there are hardly any scenes, gags, jokes that are funny, which is surprising considering the fact that Smith is actually an expert when it comes to laughworthy comedy.
The Walrus-costume looks so unbelievably stupid, it's about as annoying as Long's constant shrieking and screaming. Oh, and the supposed-to-be-emotional ending is just laughable.

Mr. Smith, next time you try to create a horror film, throw away the weed and focus on the only thing that counts: making/directing/writing a great film,
just like you did in the 90s.
"Tusk" could have been sooo much better if directed by someone like Tom Six, Frank Henenlotter or Brian Yuzna.

8 comments:

  1. Enjoyed it more than you but can't really argue that it's a good film either. It's all over the place but was weird enough to keep me interested, Depp's performance was going to be off putting to a lot of people done with his shtick. Genesis Rodriguez was my personal saving grace, you know for science....

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    1. I understand everyone who liked or enjoyed Tusk. It could have been so much better without the whole stupid humor in the second half. Also, Depp is just terrible.
      Genesis is a gorgeous girl, but her performance was too bland IMO.

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  2. I am a Smith fanboy but I dislike his attitude too. He can be funny and likeable, but he's very up himself yet tries to hide it with self-deprecation. That being said, with the exception of Cop Out, I've thoroughly enjoyed his directorial features (even Jersey Girl... I know). Since Red State, which I loved, I think there's a new energy about his movies and my appreciation of him has been rekindled. Tusk was exactly what I expected it to be - an oddball comedy with another amazing performance by Michael Parks (most underrated actor in history). Up until Depp appeared, it was actually a really weird, creepy movie. Depp kinda showed up and killed that. Then it just became a goofy comedy, which was fine, but could have been so much better. I didn't like the goofy ending, but overall I rate it a 7. Looking forward to Yoga Hosers

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    1. Red State was interesting, but far from being as badass and/or disturbing as it could have been. I respect him trying other genres, but he obviously isn't a genre filmmaker. He's so much better doing straight comedies. Mixing horror with comedy.. meh, it doesn't work for me the way he's doing it.

      Before I've seen Tusk, I was intrigued by the basic Moose Jaws concept (the film he'll shoot after Yoga Hosers)... but now, I don't care for it.

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  3. I thought he showed promise with Red State for horror with Parks' character, but it did end up falling flat in that aspect when it turned into an action thriller. I liked the change up though.

    His strength is comedy. I like that he's incorporating genre concepts but I doubt he has a dark, twisted movie in him. No matter what he makes it'll always have a dick and fart joke mentality. I have enjoyed his newest output, but he doesn't have the restraint for a pure horror movie.

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    1. Red State was so much better than Tusk, not what I would consider a great movie, but good enough to be entertained. I think though Smith has a problem with making a straight genre film. I mean, Red State isn't a horror film. It's a combination of many genres, just like Tusk isn't a horror film. It starts out as horror, but ends up as a comedy or parody of the body horror subgenre.

      Yes, his strength is comedy... or was. He has't made a really great movie in quite some time. I think Zack & Miri was the last somehow great Smith-flick, though this was also far from being as great as his earlier efforts, and it was also the movie where he started to smoke weed = the end of Smith's genius IMO...

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  4. I like his early stuff, but I checked out after Chasing Amy, which I thought was terrible. Having not seen anything since, add this to that list.

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    Replies
    1. Red State and Zack & Miri were watchable. Don't bother about Tusk, it's not worth it.

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