Tusk – My Review

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I am the walrus.

The concept grabbed me because it’s so outrageously oddball. I had forgotten this was a Kevin Smith project, and that’s good. I’m no fan of his films, but here he does something out of his usual bag of tricks with a dark horror tale. But perhaps it’s supposed to be more of a black comedy, as I laughed at most of the later scenes.

Granted I watched with my father, who doesn’t watch oddball films. So my laughter may have been a product of imagining what he was thinking.

The trailer, and the title, divulge that there is a plot about turning an annoying podcast dude into a walrus. Why this happens is interesting.

The idea is philosophical, basically that humanity is so wretched that it’s better to live as an animal. In this case it’s a walrus, but by choosing the walrus we have the issue of idealized nature being similarly carnivorous, hierarchical and prone to killing. So the idea of improving on humanity by returning to an animal state is ironically called into question. If the animal had been an herbivore, the story may have unfolded differently, but man’s similarities to the walrus also factor in here.

So this mission of the antagonist twists the usual horror plot around a bit. The main guy, the podcaster, isn’t all that likable either. He’s not such a good guy, and it seems that the madman isn’t such a purely evil one, given his rationale. But then things get weird.

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It’s a relatively slow film, lots of talking. I didn’t recognize the appearance of Johnny Depp as the eccentric French detective on the trail of the psycho. But he was interesting, at least enough to inject some levity into the dark recesses of body mutilation and forced species transformation.

It’s a glass half-full, alternative kind of movie, now at the big red boxes.

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