17 September 2014 | jdesando
Strangest, most memorable horror flick you'll see this year.
"The walrus is far more evolved than any man I've ever known. Present company included." Howard Howe (Michael Parks)
Tusk may be the most accessibly bizarre film you will see this year. Writer/director Kevin Smith, not known for subtlety, has crafted a smart horror film that comments on humanity, relationships, and obsession. If you're not into philosophizing or theme hunting, you can still enjoy his expert use of horror-film tropes to satisfy your macabre urges.
Podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) travels to Manitoba to interview Howard Howe, an eccentric adventurer claiming to have great adventures to tell. Before long, Wallace is kidnapped by Howard for the purpose of transforming him into a walrus. That's weird, of course, but Parks and Smith make it a believable obsession, as John Lennon made the lyrics of I am the Walrus sound as if he actually was saying something profound. Based on the Lewis Carroll poem, the Walrus and the Carpenter, Lennon's lyrics picked the villain of the duo for his title while he really meant the good guy (the carpenter).
Anyway, the walrus motif here is part absurd and part profound, the latter relating to the reduction of a foul, motor-mouthed podcaster into the animal he really is (witness his blathering egotism with his girlfriend, Ally Genesis Rodriguez and his more important mockery of a YouTube self mutilator). For me, a dilettante compared to knowledgeable freak geeks, the makeup used in that Walrus bit is effective—so much so I had to look away even though it wasn't grotesque. It just fit perfectly in the man-is-an-animal theme.
Smith again shows his low-brow versatility when he humorously slams both Canadians: "I don't wanna die in Canada!" (Wallace Bryton) and Americans (see the carryout sequence).