ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Tusk (2014)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Kevin Smith

Starring:
Michael Parks/Howard
Justin Long/Wallace
Genesis Rodriguez/Ally
Haley Joel Osment/Teddy
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
An obnoxious and self centered Podcaster (Justin Long) gets jerk-napped by a crazy old man (Michael Parks) who wants to turn him into a human centipede... oops my bad.... I mean a freaking Walrus! Hey, we all have our hobbies!
THE LOWDOWN
I guess you can say I’m a KEVIN SMITH fan; not a hardcore one, but I like him as a person and I’ve dug lots of his work: CLERKS and CLERKS 2, DOGMA, CHASING AMY and JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. When Smith finally ventured into the horror genre in 2011 with his religious cult flick RED STATE; I was elated for the most part by the film. It did let me down with a sad-sack and underwhelming ending though. It was almost a masterpiece (in my useless opinion that is)!  Now Smith gives horror another round with the oddity that is TUSK. So did he send me to the mat this time?

Almost.

TUSK started off strong! It established its flamboyant characters, had some easy laughs at my amazing country’s (Canada that is) expense (I’ve never said aboot...ever BTW), sported hilarious sexual innuendos galore (all about that penis bone...brrr), eventually launched me into an unsettling situation and then let her rip! For the first hour or so, the film could no wrong with me. The pace was effortless, the dialogue witty and once we met the creepy old man (Parks), anticipation as to what I knew was going to happen next was eating at my nut-sack from the inside. The bang on cast definitely elevated the whole! Justin Long (and his epic porn-stache) managed to make an unlikeable character endearing due to his wit and charisma. On his end, grown up Haley Joel Osment was a pleasant surprise! I haven’t seen him act since THE SIXTH SENSE (1999) and here he made for a very appealing sidekick.That dude’s laugh made me laugh! He was like Long’s Ed McMahon (from the Johnny Carson show, yes, I’m old-er). Genesis Rodriguez was easy on the retinas and did what she had to do well and Michael Parks simply stole the show as the...ummm... eccentric Walrus loving old basterd. I was transfixed every time Parks was onscreen especially if he had a monologue or a story to tell (like when he recited a passage from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner). Now that’s a freaking pro! Smith could not have nabbed a better actor for the role. Parks gave an hypnotizing and brave show!

Moreover, once the horror kicked in, it did with gusto! Let’s just say it was a tough way to start the day! Seeing some poor schlep get turned into a Walrus (with stand out practical effects by Robert Kurtzman) and then forced to act like one in a series of mean spirited scenes was fairly revolting. I winced like like Johny Hendricks losing that championship bout to GSP more than once, hence the flick succeeded in what it wanted to do; put me through the ringer. And then... the other shoe dropped and so did my interest. I can’t think of another film this year that so had me by the balls and then dropped them just “like that”... I mean LIKE THAT! Up to that point TUSK was a horror film with some comedy in it. But once it introduced a new character by the name of Guy Lapointe (named after retired Montreal Canadiens defenseman - respect) the film became a full blown comedy with some horror in it. The “A-List” actor that played Lapointe did not amuse me with his “performance” (he put me off) and the whole took a turn for the yuk-yuk that failed to hit my mark. But that doesn’t mean it will lose you too. Comedy is highly subjective, what’s hilarious to one can be flat to another. And alas it came off as flat to me. Yes, I watched the film till the end in a detached manner, let down by the path it decided to take. You had me man! COME ON!

So when all was blown and spit out; Smith did the same mistake he did with RED STATE but in a worse way. In RED STATE, he set up what was going to be a badass ending and then at the last second he took a right turn and left me hanging with something oh-hum. In TUSK he had a solid horror movie and two acts in he decided “f*ck that” I now want it to be an all out comedy with a wacky soundtrack backing up silly sight gags. Didn’t work for me. Bummer. Sing it with me now! “I am the eggman, they are the eggmen I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob!
GORE
We get chopped off limbs, some tusk stabbings, grisly bites and yeah a dude is turned into a walrus, not pretty.
ACTING
T & A
Genesis Rodriguez looked yum in little clothing and the ladies get Michael Parks white ass!
BOTTOM LINE
TUSK came through gangbusters for the first hour or so! Top notch actors, clever and raunchy dialogue (Kevin Smith’s specialty), a f*cked up situation, some tension, stand out special effects and enough weird, cruel and horrific bits to fill up an 8 year old's birthday party with whaling. Then the character of Guy Lapointe showed up, the tone switched and BAM; it lost me; becoming a full blown comedy that I didn’t find funny. I guess it all boils down to that, if you get into the Guy Lapointe character, you should be all good. Looking back, I personally dug RED STATE more. With that, I’m not giving up on Smith in terms of horror just yet, he’s done enough solid moves to prove that he has "it" and I applaud his big bulldog balls, but much like some gals I know, he just needs to learn to go all the way!
BULL'S EYE
The film was inspired by an article discussed on Smith's podcast SModcast 259.

The flick was shot in 15 days.

Smith will be doing a TUSK spin-off with the cast of Tusk called Yoga Hosers (2015). I expect more Guy Lapointe...urg...
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9:26PM on 09/28/2014
I felt the same way! Loved the movie, but hated Guy LaPointe. That porch scene was just cringeworthy.
I felt the same way! Loved the movie, but hated Guy LaPointe. That porch scene was just cringeworthy.
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9:38AM on 09/28/2014
No one "likes Smith as a person"...he's hard to like or even respect, really.
No one "likes Smith as a person"...he's hard to like or even respect, really.
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