The Horror Honeys: Tusk: #WalrusNoNoNoNo

Tusk: #WalrusNoNoNoNo

A Reluctant Head Honey Review by Kat

Deep down...every man wants to be a walrus. 

I feel like a prisoner of this movie's
fake popularity.
Those who follow our podcast and our news items will be intensely familiar with my exact feelings about Tusk already, and those feelings were expressed without having seen the film. I'm an adult, and I'm always happy when a film can change my mind about my initial reactions, whether good or bad, and I'm always happy to admit when this happens.  In the case of Tusk, my initial opinions were entirely justified.

The tragedy here, is that I actually respect the quality of Kevin Smith's prose. He's proven time and time again that he has the ability to write pithy and even endearingly smart dialogue and monologues. However, as most often seems to happen, that prose and everything endearing and thought provoking about it then gets lost in a sea of blubbery mansplanation, casual racism, and childish humor.

Tusk opens on a podcast, that just so happens to sound remarkably like Kevin Smith's own podcast. A couple of chuckleheads laughing at jokes that aren't actually funny while pretending to be better than their podcast subjects. Wallace (Justin Long) sports one of the worst attempts at a mustache I've seen on film (and that includes my opinion of 70s porn facial hair) and Teddy (Haley Joel Osment), his somewhat dumpy neutered sidekick who basically serves no purpose other than to continuously inflate Wallace's already bloated ego. It's important that I mention neutered when it comes to Teddy, because it makes one of the small plot jumps a little more stupid.

A mustache no woman could ever love.
Seriously, no one will ever say,
"Oh baby, that's such a hot look!" to this 'stache.
Wallace has plans to travel to Canada - Winnipeg specifically - to interview the most recent butt of their podcast jokes, a young man who performed a version of the "fat kid lightsaber video" but with a katana, and subsequently chopped off his own leg. Hilarious, right? Exactly. When Wallace arrives and discovers that his young interview subject has died - general consensus seems to be that he committed suicide - Wallace is left without an interview subject, and thus, no Not-See Party (haha ugh) Podcast topic. Ranting like a complete ass in a random bar, Wallace discovers a want ad from an elderly man looking for a companion, someone to tell stories to. Of course, Wallace snaps this right up and makes immediate plans to pay a visit to Howard Howe. Thankfully, throughout this entire time, Wallace has been setting himself up as an arrogant entitled dipshit of the highest order. Some extra footage of him kicking a puppy or pushing a blind person wouldn't have been out of place. However, what's also been happening, is that we discover that Wallace is also a cheater - which given the state of his facial hair, and who his girlfriend appears to be (but she's so HOT) - makes entirely no sense. To combat this awful knowledge (because she knows about it), Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) is cheating in return - with Wallace's co-host, Teddy. Do you need to give a shit about this? No. Not really. The best written lines in the film are then delivered by Ally in a tearful speech about Wallace's awful behaviour...a speech that came out of nowhere. Literally nowhere. And it was also a speech that felt as if it were written for a completely different film. A better film.

Wallace's exchanges with former adventurer Howard Howe could have been amazing, but were ruined by Wallace's childish exclamations and obnoxious antics which I'm sure is where the comedy was supposed to come in. I was actually grateful when Howe's tea overpowered Wallace's dumbassery and he passed out on the carpet.

For those who get butthurt about such things: there are **SPOILERS AHEAD**

My personal requirement for body horror films is that they must cross the point of no return. It's part of the reason why I enjoy The Human Centipede so much, because there is no coming back from the trauma experienced by the subject. No therapy, no restorative surgery...nothing can bring back the person from the beginning of the film. In that arena, Tusk is successful and I'm happy to admit that. Nothing anyone does can bring back the old Wallace, and not enough has been done that we don't feel really bad for the guy in the process. So, points awarded there.

Now, where everything falls apart is with the "walrus suit." As someone who likes the details when it comes to practical FX, I was momentarily thrown by the fact that the "walrus suit" was made of human skin. In theory, it's a unique idea - but in practice it looks like a giant scrotum with Wallace's awkward face poking out of the front. How's THAT for a mental picture. My initial response was to close my laptop and walk away. Why? Why was I expecting more? I don't know. When we're set up with some really extreme body mods including tongue removal, the removal of both legs below the knees, and the stitching of Wallace's arms to his sides. What was done in terms of dental modification wasn't clear, but I know what I would have wanted to see. What did I want to see? Wallace shoved inside a rotting meat suit sure wasn't it. After all of that modification, I wanted to see a tail grafted to his legs, webs or flippers to his hands and actual dental grafts for the ivory tusks. Maybe something like that, because that actually sounds more fucking horrible that being shoved into a fat suit made of people.

Creature reveal level: FAIL
I snort laughed when this came on screen.
Things that annoyed me: Canashaming and Canucksploitation. I've asked a LOT of people if I'm just being crazy, but the general consensus is that I'm not. #NotAllCanadians like hockey, not all Canadians say "eh," but you can be sure that most Canadians harbor some innate distrust of Americans, and it's not just because you don't "get" hockey or can't hold your beer.

Canadian accents also can't be summed up with a you all sound the same: "Ok, everyone pretend you've just flown in from Fargo, North Dakota and maybe we'll throw some badly pronounced French in there as well for you, Johnny Depp. Break a leg, eh and don't forget to overpronounce aboot a LOT!" Fuck. Off.

Issues with timeline, surgery healing, and some other practical things can't really be compared to the "real world" because it honestly seems that Kevin Smith creates a unique world for his films to live in that has absolutely nothing to do with the real world, which is fine, it's just not for me.

Coming up from Smith, you can expect a follow up to Tusk starring Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp's daughters (aka the slack jawed moron twins from the Eh 2 Zed convenience store) and Johnny Depp reprising his unnecessary role as Guy Lapointe (which is pronounced LahPwant at some points, so be sure to keep notes) on yet another "Crazy Canadian" adventure in Yoga Hosers. I won't be seeing that one.

I won't tell anyone NOT to watch Tusk. But if you're looking for a comedy horror, you probably won't find it here...or you might. Personally, I think if he had thrown out all of the attempts at comedy and had stuck to the horror story, it would have been much better received and you wouldn't have to get stoned on his Walrus Brand Pot to enjoy it (No, seriously).

Verdict: 2 bloated pink mammals out of 5. You fill in the blank as to whether I'm referring to the walrus or not. 

I still think my idea is WAY more terrifying.