First, I’d like to make a quick apology to those loyal few followers of this blog. The blog has been pretty dead over the past few months. I’m living in Thailand, teaching English and I have another blog (that I’ve also been neglecting) so I’ve been pretty busy. Sorry for the hiatus. Not sure If I’ll keep up with this regularly but I felt like writing about this movie so here we are…
There are two types of people on this Earth: Those who love Kevin Smith and those who hate him. I am definitely one of them. That is, I’m not sure which group I fall into but I’m sure I’m in one of them. Traditionally, Smith has been rooted in the comedy/dramedy genre. Usually he’s at least a bit satirical. In his recent foray into horror (Red State and Tusk) he’s held on to his comedy and satire roots and against a horror backdrop.
In Smith’s most recent installment, 2014’s Tusk, he makes a commentary on the direction our society is headed. And his prognosis is not good. The film is about a man named Wallace, a Howard Stern-type shock jock podcaster. In search of another weirdo to exploit and humiliate on his show, he meets a psychotic old man. The only problem is the old man has some ideas of his own and ends up doing most of the exploitation in the form of an extreme and unnecessary medical procedure.
Through the use of some flashbacks, we see that Wallace has sold out his nice-guy past and become a rude, cruel asshole with a microphone who is infamous for mocking strange or weird people on his show. Essentially we see this man, who has become a monster figuratively, becoming more and more like a literal monster. To Smith’s credit, we really dislike the guy at the beginning of the film and throughout his ordeal as he physically becomes more and more monstrous, his humanity is revealed and we begin to sympathize with him. It’s an interesting twist.
Lets not get too sappy though. This is still a Kevin Smith movie. And a pretty serious body-horror nightmare. Even Smith’s comedies are – we’ll say unpleasant – so you can imagine how his horror movies are. This one is downright disturbing. If you can sit through this without squirming in your seat, you should probably get checked by a psychiatrist. To pull it all together, if the same film was made by another director, it would probably be a piece of shit. But we know its Kevin Smith. We know he’s making a statement about something rather than just making a scary movie. It’s not meant to be taken seriously or literally. This one sets out to be upsetting, and it achieves its goal in a big way.
Here’s a quick note: I really, really wanted to include some pictures of the “after the experiment” part of the movie, but it would really ruin the effect so just go watch it yourself.
- Is it scary? 6 – It’s not that scary but it’s definitely unsettling. If you showed it to a kid on Sunday night, you’d be getting a call from the guidance counselor pretty early Monday morning.
- Originality: 6 – Not sure what to say about this. It’s a bit like Human centipede meets Steve Irwin, but it’s done in an unfamiliar way. Definitely not something I’ve seen before
- Blood: 5 – There are some scenes that are pretty bloody, and the result of the ‘medical experiment’ is disgusting. Respectable score here.
- Believability: 3 – I don’t think I need to explain myself too much. The dialogue was clever (par for the course for KS) but the storyline isn’t realistic.
- Setting/Cinematography: 6 – Smith does a pretty good job here. The tone of the scary scenes is dark and that shows in the cinematography.
Final Score: 26/50