If you hear there’s a movie in which a man is turned into a Walrus by a psychotic Michael Parks, how can you not want to watch it immediately?
Plenty of people did, though they had to wait a little, considering the idea for it popped up in one of Kevin Smith’s podcasts, and was then voted on using #WalrusYes, or #WalrusNo.
Obviously #WalrusYes won out, and 2014 saw Tusk released onto the world.
Beginning with a callback to its start as a podcast, Justin Long plays main character Wallace, one half of the podcast duo known at the Not See party.
Starting with a Nazi joke and a kid cutting their own leg off with a sword, the audience is immediately introduced to the type of movie this is going to be.
Wallace is shown to be the kind of guy thats happy to be a total A hole in the name of being ‘funny’, which neither his girlfriend nor fellow podcaster, played by Haley Joel Osment, seem particularly impressed by.
Character introductions and general set up over, we finally begin to delve closer to the meat of the movie, as Wallace travels to Canada.
A change in plans leads him to meet the clearly insane Howard Howe, played by the iconic Michael Parks, and it feels like the movie really begins here.
Once Wallace steps into Howard’s home in the middle of nowhere, the pacing of the movie feels as though it speeds up.
Many of the following scenes are almost entirely just the two characters speaking, but the audience is saved from boredom not only by the intricately crazy dialogue, but also by Michael Parks incredibly gripping performance, and Justin Long’s perfect attempt to keep up with him, while also interjecting occasional comedy that’s necessary to keep a film like this from slipping to total depravity.
Before long though, the body horror portion of this movie begins.
From Howard’s tale of the walrus he loved, it’s clear the direction this is going to take the moment Wallace begins to fall asleep after drinking tea, and yet its still shocking and gripping to watch him wake up, still drowsy, and now missing a leg.
The pacing of this movie is delectable, constantly ramping up without feeling like its settling anywhere.
Wallace is finally able to contact his girlfriend and podcast partner, treating us to the shock of them having an affair.
They decide to rescue him regardless, and suddenly it’s almost impossible to remove even the tiniest bit of attention from the screen.
Racing to find him leads them to join up with Guy Lapointe, a detective played by Johnny Depp with a French accent and hilarious lack of self awareness that only Johnny Depp can ever really pull off.
It’s clearly in vain though, as we watch Wallace go through hell, losing another leg, having his arms sewn to his torso, and eventually being put in the walrus suit, made by Howard himself with the bodies of over 20 murder victims.
Fans of Justin Long and horror movies will likely find it somewhat reminiscent of Jeepers Creepers, had it been set in an aquarium.
Finally, Howard’s project is complete and Wallace is a Walrus, only to finally be found when its too late.
Tusk is a wild ride from start to finish, flitting from scenes that make you laugh out loud, to scenes that make you feel as though you might be about to taste your lunch for a second time, but like a rollercoaster, you just want to get straight back on the moment its over.