Tusk Review (TIFF2014)

Posted 7 years ago by myetvmedia

When shockjock Wallace (Justin Long) heads to Canada to interview the latest youtube sensation, his plans go slightly awry. Stranded in Manitoba, and forced to come up with fresh content on extremely short notice, he turns his attention to elderly eccentric, Howard How (Michael Parks). But How is a serial killer with a depraved dream, and forces Wallace to fight for his very humanity. What separates man from animal?

Body horror is a tricky beast for live-action. It’s difficult to make it sufficiently horrifying without seeming ridiculous (The Human Centipede) or turning into overly fetished wankbait (The Human Centipede 2). Although there are exceptions, typically it works best in literature. Here, Kevin Smith, with the help of Long, Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, Haley Joel Osment and Johnny Depp, has successfully blended multiple horror sub-genres to create something best described as one-of-a-kind. Where else are you going to see two guys in walrus suits wrestling each other and eating raw fish, while bearded men argue over the meaning of the Canadian flag?

It’s not a scary film. Scary movies make you jump. This is a damn good horror film. It creeps. A creepy mansion, a drugged drink, and some unnecessary surgery. It bounds, with a twist, a reveal and a truly horrifying swimming pool. And finally it shambles towards a brutal ending. With some great acting from Parks as the utterly bonkers How, and Long going from scumbag to subhuman monstrosity, and Johnny Depp stealing the show as Guy Lapointe, disgraced former cop determined to bring How in, it’s got my highest recommendation. Be warned, the tone can be uneven, with Depp especially relying on Jack Sparrow a bit too much, but Parks more than makes up for it, terrorizing Wallace with poetry and amputations.

By turns disgusting and hilarious, and absolutely a Kevin Smith film, it’s probably the most unique film playing at Tiff this year. Go see it.

Donal O’Connor

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