Tusk Review - Will it find a new life on VOD?
Tusk is about to be released on VOD and at the end of December it will be released on DVD. Not a lot of films these days, get box office redemption and a new life on VOD or DVD (Unless you’re Adam Sandler), but after breaking even in its theatrical release, Tusk is primed to find new traction being available to the masses, including the millions of Smith followers and fans that didn’t get the film near them. Tusk is a movie that can show you that you don’t have to have a serious concept to bring out brilliant performances and leave you with a film that you will never be able to forget. The premise is very straight forward about a podcaster (Justin Long) that interviews strange people that he finds on the internet. He stumbles upon a man (Michael Parks) who would like to share his stories of travel and survival. It turns out this man missed his Walrus friend that helped him survive on Ponder Rock and wants to turn Justin Long into a human walrus. Yes, a human walrus. He makes his escape call and then you get his friends (Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez) on the trail to find him.
The only thing that everyone can think of when they hear this premise is, Human Centipede. This is not Human Centipede. This film is Silence of the Lambs meets the Jersey Universe that Kevin Smith created. The story, if you leave out the walrus, is a creepy story that, in this era of the internet, very logically could happen. Everyone is trying to create the next big podcast, while there are people like the Craigslist Killer out there waiting to prey on people searching through the internet for anything from household items to a spouse. The progression of Michael Parks slowly turning Justin Long into a walrus is one of the best paced, creepiest amount of time I have seen in film in a long time. The anticipation of seeing if Long actually goes Full Walrus is more than enough to keep you entwined in this film. Along with this skin crawling scenario, you then get an old school detective story (filled with nostalgic cop show camera shots) which features a very hidden Johnny Depp in a character you never thought you would see him portray, but he does it, perfectly.
The acting and writing of this movie stands out the most. This movie was clearly written for Michael Parks and he completely became Howard Howe. The believability in this performance is very reflective of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector. You forget the premise of what you are watching and you become enthralled with his performance and how you would never want to meet this man. Parks was fantastic in Red State and From Dusk Till Dawn, but whoever views this film will say, “This was Parks greatest performance.” I would even chalk this up as the best villainous performance of the year, and am sad when I think that due to the films content, no one would take it seriously for an Oscar. Although the film is heavy with Parks’ brilliant performance, you cannot count out Justin Long. He plays his obnoxious podcaster role well, but shines as a victim. The sympathy and heartbreak that I was truly feeling while watching this made me feel as if it were actually happening. Parks and Long as villain and victim are a combination that I never thought I would say I couldn’t have been more happy with. The supporting cast do not play too big of a role until they are on the hunt, so they do not get as much play, but when they do they are overshadowed by a dopy detective played by Johnny Depp. This is not a role that Depp fans will enjoy, but you can clearly see the fun that Kevin Smith was having in developing this character and getting Depp to play him. This character is there to remind you - This is not a serious film (although I would strongly disagree in some of the parts.)
“Tusk is a movie that shouldn’t have been made.” This is a direct quote from the Jersey auteur himself Kevin Smith. He uses the word “shouldn’t” due to the movie’s premise and how Hollywood and audiences would accept it. His huge fan base wanted this from the start and said #WalrusYes, but they could not all have access to it. That is my reasoning for its box office numbers. This movie hits VOD and DVD soon and I firmly believe it is about to find a new life - much like Mallrats. Word of mouth from this film will keep it alive and passed from friend to friend. If you are staying away due to the premise, give it a rent or purchase for the performances. You will not be disappointed.