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Nerdlocker Movie Review: Tusk


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Tusk has been one of the most talked about films of 2014 and has drawn in my curiosity since day one with the transformation of Justin Long (Zack and Miri Make A Porno, Jeepers Creepers) into a human walrus. Yes, it’s an odd premise, but with all the hype surfacing on the interwebs; teasers and stills from the set looked to be promising from the get go. Kevin Smith is most notorious for his potty and college humored low budget films. Now that you have all of Smith’s movies in your head, disregard everything you have know of his film career, and any fictional characters he has created. Kevin Smith escapes the comfort zone that has imprisoned many Hollywood directors/writers today and puts hope back into in the horror genre that has been severely lacking for many years. This film was a thrilling ride through the mind of the world’s deadliest serial killer, the beast that lies within. The story, the imagery, and the cast were superb in every way imaginable, and if you are looking for a happy ending, look elsewhere. Tusk is topped with grotesque transformation scenes, crimson spattered skin, and a plethora of severed limbs that will keep any American travelers out of the Canadian backwoods for many years to come.

Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is your normal egotistical podcast host that does anything to get an audience, even when it’s not playing the nice guy. Long cohosts the podcast The Not-See Party with his quirky and “do no wrong” friend, Teddy (Haley Joel) and embarks on a Canadian voyage to capture information on the ole’ Canadian lifestyle, and if there is more to the country than Zamboni’s, mullet’s and saying “Aboot.” Wallace is embarking to the Canadian land to get an interview with a recent YouTube gone viral celebrity that cuts off one of his limbs with a sword. After this trip is cut short with the recent death of this individual, Wallace is looking elsewhere for something to exploit on his podcast. He comes across a flyer for a storyteller located outside of Manitoba and where the rest of the film takes place. We are introduced to one of the most sadistic characters of 2014 by the name of Howard Howe (Michael Parks) and seems to be a very knowledgeable man. Mr. Howe the war veteran, storyteller, and collector, intrigues Wallace and gets good content for his show. Wallace’s curiosity and egotistical manner is what pushes him into harms way before he is aware of his malicious surroundings. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t really drink any tea-like substances from a creepy old man in the woods. But as you could guess, Wallace indulges in the warm beverage and gets a brief history of Howard Howe’s past pertaining to war time and a walrus saving his life at sea, just before he gets taste of the floor after blacking out.

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In his sedated state, the audience is given a brief glimpse into past experiences between Wallace and his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) and a real taste of how much Wallace has taken his relationship for granted. Wallace is quite the cliché douchebag and treated his girlfriend quite poorly, including cheating on her with many pimply–faced fan girls that can barely buy alcohol legally, let alone compare to Ally’s big heart and model like features. But little did Wallace know, his counter-part Teddy was taking a liking to his girlfriend as well. While Wallace was in the Canadian lands searching for individuals to interview, Teddy was having pajama parties with Ally.

Kevin Smith used a lot of foreshadowing in this film specifically to give the audience a taste of how karma works and shady people will get a taste of their own medicine. As Wallace awakens from his dream and is still heavily drugged, he finds himself in a mysterious room with the loss of his motor functions and Mr. Howe watching him from afar. While Wallace is trying to comprehend what happened the night before and why he can’t feel his legs as they are wrapped up in a blanket, Mr. Howe tells him that he had the misfortune of running into a hairy little spider that caused him to lose consciousness. Later in the film, we find this is a common story that many victims have experienced in the same are of Canada. Hmmmmm coincidence, I think not! The story and his current state are not really adding up, and Mr. Bryton is quite furious that he was not treated in a medical facility. As the audiences, including myself, were on the edge of our seats, we were waiting for what laid beneath the blanket, and what damage Mr. Howe had inflicted on Wallace. The story and the wounds don’t add up.

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Wallace eventually finds his cell phone hidden in the house and makes a few panic phone calls to his girlfriend, and podcast wingman, Teddy. Of course, they miss the calls due to their own cuddling curiosities, and only have a voicemail to go off of to find him. In comes a surprising class A celebrity that portrays the Canadian private investigator, Guy LaPointe who is hot on the track of this Mr. Howe for many years. I had no idea this actor was even in the movie, but his comedic and sometimes hard to interpret character was one of my favorites in the film. Ally and Teddy finally arrive in Canada and meet up with the P.I. to go over the voicemails. They are able to distinguish some characteristics of what Wallace had described in the voicemail, and what Mr. LaPointe has encountered over the many years of investigating this serial killer. He describes what gruesome dismembered corpses he had found and their animal-like characteristics this serial killer has transformed them into. Time is of the essence and tracking down Wallace and this mad man is very time sensitive. LaPointe met this killer many years prior without knowing it, and knows what they are dealing with.

The last half hour reminded me of The Human Centipede and Hostel in the fact that there are deranged human beings who will do anything to others to satisfy their own needs. Not to mention the twisted final product that is crafted out of other human/animal parts. There is a final battle scene between Mr. Howe and Wallace that gives the audience a sense of satisfaction.

This movie was everything we needed in horror for 2014 that wasn’t a regurgitated re-make/re-imagining. It had an original premise; solid cast, precise cinematography, and a dark underlying story that made me feel uneasy throughout the film. Maybe this film started as a joke via Twitter, or was a way for Kevin Smith to say goodbye to Hollywood and plug his podcast. The viewer will never really know that answer, but one thing is for sure, karma comes back to those that have shitty personalities. Justin Long has great chemistry with Smith’s directing, and really knocked this character out of the park. I loved this movie and am not ashamed to say it, and really hope all my friends and followers check this movie out in theaters this weekend! Don’t question yourself or others, give it a chance, and draw your own conclusions. The real beast can stand right in front of you when you least expect it, so treat others with respect, or it can all come back on you.

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And to answer your question Mr. Smith, I choose #walrusyes

Rated R for: Language, Horror, Sexual Content, and Violence
Run time: 102 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Starring: Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, and Guy LaPointe.
Director: Kevin Smith
Out of 5 Nerd Skulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4 / Directing: 4 / Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 out of 5 Nerd Skulls

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