Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review: Tusk

Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 102 minutes

I saw bits and pieces of promotional material for this movie and it sounded pretty interesting. Most people, I'm sure, are drawn to it because it is a Kevin Smith film and I know he has a lot of followers. Honestly, I haven't seen too many of his movies, but maybe I should give them a try some day. Either way, I respect and enjoy the man when I do see him participate in things.

Wallace Bryton, a podcaster, travels to Canada to meet a fan that submitted a video to him and his friend Teddy on their show. He plans on interviewing the kid, but finds out that an unfortunate situation has occurred causing him to change his plans. Discouraged, Wallace finds a notice that may provide an unusual tale for him to share with Teddy and their podcast listeners. He meets up with an older gentleman by the name of Howard Howe and shares a cup of tea as he listens to his life story. Three days later, Wallace's girlfriend Ally hasn't heard any word from him and learns that he has disappeared. Now it is up to Ally and Teddy to find out what happened to Wallace?

I had little to no preview on what this movie might intell. All I knew about this movie was that it was a horror movie, Kevin Smith directed it, Justin Long was one of the actors, and somehow tusks were going to be involved. While I was approaching the end of the movie, I did share and watch the trailer for the first time and it definitely doesn't give anything a way, which is a very good thing. So, it's safe to check it out. Since I had no clue what I was getting myself into, I was anticipating to see how tusks were going to be involved in this movie.

Seeing the genre of this movie on IMDb, I was curious how they would combine comedy and horror into this movie. It isn't an impossible feat to obtain as comedy horror movies do exist. In this movie, we start off with some light humor to settle the viewer in and, of course, set up the plot of the story. The humor is definitely successful in this movie; it's a bit perverse, nerdy, and at times dark in places. Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment have some good chemistry between them and I believe their relationship together. Also, it's nice to see grown up Osment. Most people only remember him from how he looked from The Sixth Sense, so, yeah, he looks about the same just most people. Anyway, I really enjoyed Justin Long's character Wallace. He delivers a bit of jerk personality, but a lovable enough jerk that you care about what happens to him. Genesis Rodriguez, who plays Ally, does a great job conveying her emotions about the whole situation as well as her serious feelings toward Wallace. I truly believed that she loved him and that is very important for the audience to care about him and his disappearance. Michael Parks as Howard Howe was absolutely perfect with his sophisticated, yet eerie presence. It's not hard to feel equally intrigued by this man along with Wallace and at the same a bit uncomfortable for some unknown reason. Lastly, I want to say that Guy LaPointe was very amusing. Johnny Depp is truly a master of disguise.

Aside from the acting, I thought the story effectively pulled me in as well. You have no idea what horror is around the corner for Wallace or his loved ones. It's perfectly bizarre, yet believable. The pacing and editing is done very well. The viewer gets just enough background to understand why Wallace flew to Canada, understand his relationship with Teddy and Ally, and put enough trust into our antagonist. I know already mentioned that I enjoyed the humor in this, but I wanted to add that the Canadian/American jokes were on point in this movie. I like the call back to Degrassi as well, since I'm a fan of the show and I remember the couple episodes Kevin Smith guest starred filming a movie there.

Although I haven't seen it yet, in some ways (and this doesn't really spoil the movie), Tusks reminds me a little bit of The Human Centipede, but I'm sure this movie is way more entertaining than that movie and assuming more intelligent. I will leave a tiny bit of gross out warning, but I've seen more disturbing looking things in other movies than this. It's definitely not overdone, so I wouldn't worry about it relying on gross outs or whatever. For the most, I thought this movie was very refreshing, especially since there seems to be lack of interesting horror movies out there. Thank you, Kevin Smith, for producing such a creative, humorous, yet creepy film! You give me hope.

Rating: 4.5/5

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