I’m working my way through this list of the 15 best horror films of 2014. It started a few weeks back with The Taking of Deborah Logan, which got an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Second on the list was Afflicted – more about that in an upcoming post – and today, it was Kevin Smith’s Tusk. I wasn’t sure what to think about Tusk going into it. I’m not a huge Kevin Smith fan, but I did like Red State (perhaps “like” is kind of a strong word for such a disturbing film.) I had heard decidedly mixed reviews, with some horror fans declaring it the worst film of the year. I was also familiar with how it bombed at the box office when it was released. After watching Tusk, I can see why – but that wasn’t because I didn’t like it.
Like The Taking of Deborah Logan, it’s best if you go into Tusk knowing as little as possible about what’s going to happen. Even watching the trailer gives away too much, so don’t watch it! That’s more or less how I did it and let me tell you, not knowing anything made the experience so much better. What I will tell you is that Tusk is the story of a podcaster who interviews strange people with interesting stories to tell. When an interview that he travelled to Canada to do falls through, he responds to an ad posted by a retired seaman who promises that he has stories to tell.
And wow, does he ever.
Revealing any more than this really threatens to spoil the film, but rest assured, as the poster at right insinuates, walruses play a role.
Some random thoughts about Tusk:
- There were some points in it that I was very much grossed out. It’s not for the weak of stomach. Wikipedia describes it as a comic body horror film. I didn’t even know body horror was a thing.
- It was actually pretty funny too, when it wasn’t busy grossing me out. Justin Lang is perfect as the douchey podcaster Wallace Bryton. I think it was the mustache that pushed it over the edge.
- Haley Joel Osment has not really lived up to the promise of that Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, but it was fun to see him in the role as Bryton’s fellow podcaster.
- The movie was an hour and 45 minutes long, and honestly, it probably could have been a good 20 minutes shorter. Let’s face it – that’s a long time to tell a story that probably could have been told by Rod Serling in 22 minutes on an episode of The Twilight Zone.
I mentioned that I could see why Tusk bombed at the box office. The reason I say this has nothing to do with how much I personally enjoyed the film. Despite the gross factor, it was not a bad way to spend my morning. What I think happened is that people went in expecting something that was funnier than it was and were turned off by the grossness. If late night TV weren’t sold to the highest bidding informercials, Tusk would be playing as the late movie for years and years to come. It probably should have gone the road of a video-on-demand release and had only a limited theatrical run. Expectations would have been lowered and it could have dodged the label of “box office bomb”, especially bad since there are two more films starring the cast of Tusk in the works.
And for those wondering, yes, it uses Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” to great effect. Honestly, even if the rest of the movie had been utter shit, that scene would have redeemed it for me.
Next up for me is probably Oculus since it’s streaming on Netflix, but Horns is supposed to be coming from Netflix. I’m excited for both.