Last week I sat down to finally get my peepers on Kevin Smith’s new film Tusk, a horror/comedy of nautical proportions which will undoubtedly fulfill anyone’s sweet tooth for all things macabre and witty. With each outlandishly terrifying and hilarious moment, I was reminded of how great of a writer Kevin Smith truly is. There are always Kevin Smith nay-sayers out there, but I would challenge those people to sit through any Kevin Smith movie and NOT accidentally walk away instantly remembering hokey one-liners and puns that will certainly make them groan with satisfaction from realizing they were intelligent enough to get it. Tusk is no exception. It’s wonderfully written, even poetic at times but still speckled with the humor we have all come to love and expect from Smith. Me? Oh, he gets me with the details every time. From the incessant yet adorable cheap-shot nitpicking at all things Canadian (up to an especially including that damn Chug Eh Lug cup) to Justin Long’s pretentious moustache, Kevin Smith had me from start to finish.
If you know nothing of the story, Tusk follows the mental and physical destruction of a smarmy, self-indulgent podcaster (Long) who travels to Canada to follow a lead for a story. While there, he is inadvertently introduced to a sea-faring man of many fantastical stories, the best of which he is about to tell, albeit unbeknownst to Long’s character. It culminates into something at which you will certainly gasp, and though I could see it unfolding just before its bloody best, it still delivered in an appalling and entertaining way that 100% mortified me.
The cast was developed cleverly, though I could have done without Long’s sidekick, whose laughter is the kind of thing of which internet trolling is made. The introduction of Guy Lapointe (and the actor that portrayed him), seemed a bit too forced but in all fairness took nothing away from the story overall. I’m sure it had nothing to do with Smith’s next project Yoga Hosers, scheduled for 2015 and featuring the same character. Long’s character Wallace was greasy and obnoxious almost to the point of complete annoyance had it not been for his quick wit and sarcasm. But the real accolades here go to actor Michael Parks, who plays the devilish and twisted land-lubber Howard Howe. He is precisely what you would expect if Hannibal Lecter had a sense of humor and a penchant for poetry and rhythm. He is absolutely lip-lickingly evil, and that aspect definitely makes the film a win for me.
Is it a horror with comedy elements? Is it a comedy with horror elements? Why bother categorizing it? For me, it nestles comfortably right in the middle, like that spot in your couch where the cushions meet.
Definitely a solid 7 out of 10 cleavers.
Tusk is lurking in the depths now on DVD/bluray as well as a myriad of other streaming and VOD services. Check out the imdb details here and follow Kevin Smith on Twitter @ThatKevinSmith.