Right off the bat, we can safely say that knowing my particular tastes, this wasn't generally my cup of tea. It's just a little too messed up in its horror aspect, and I'd probably say that it's Kevin Smith's answer to 'Human Centipede'. The main plot of the story is very similar in that it involves a drugging followed by human biological experimentation. The thing about 'Tusk', however, is that it's based on a true story... well, not really, but kind of. More on that later.
The film opens with podcasters Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) and Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment) who host a show called 'The Not-See Party'. Their podcast showcases humiliating viral videos; the latest being 'The Kill Bill Kid' in which a guy clearly parodying 'The Star Wars Kid' replaces lightsaber with katana, and chops his leg off. Upon reviewing the video, Wallace heads to Manitoba, Canada where the kid lives in hopes to interview him, but through certain circumstances, the interview cannot move forward. Not wanting to come to Canada for nothing, however, he decides to seek someone else out for an awesome story to share on his podcast.
In the bathroom of a bar, Wallace finds an ad from a Howard Howe, offering a free room and the guarantee of interesting stories in exchange for a few chores. Howard is a wheelchair-bound, retired seaman, and claims he can't do certain things around the house anymore. Wallace answers the ad, and gets directions from Colleen McKenzie and Colleen Collette (Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp, respectively) to Howard's home, located smack-dab in the middle of nowhere. Arriving that night, Wallace gets some pretty cool stories from Howard that he could potentially bring back for his podcast; one involving a walrus that save his life, who he developed a friendship with.
As anyone can predict, Wallace quickly gets more than he bargained for with a drugged tea, and waking up strapped to a chair, missing a limb. I won't sit here and spoil what else happens, but there are pictures all over the internet, and any Kevin Smith fan who hasn't even seen this movie has likely seen the end result. I knew that's what I was getting into as far as the main plot goes, so I can't pretend to be shocked by much. But once again, the whole human experimentation/shock horror thing isn't generally what I enjoy in a horror movie (even if it is a horror comedy). So right off the bat, I already knew this wasn't going to be a favorite. But I will admit, it's not without a perk or two.
This is another American comedy that pokes fun at Canada in so many ways, with so many stereotypes. Even speaking as a Canadian, I'm all about Canadian stereotypes. Some are damn close to true, but some are so hilariously off that you can't help but laugh at them. To put the cherry on the sundae, Johnny Depp comes into the picture as Guy Lapointe; an inspector from Quebec (not the hockey player). The performance is very much a stereotype, but his delivery is pretty spot on, and I don't think he really says anything particularly harmful. Maybe it's just me, but being Canadian, I feel like I can embrace Canadian stereotypes far easier than I can get offended by them. That could be part of what makes us so "nice".
One final note brings me back to that "true story" bit. The truth is, inspiration for the film came from a fake online advertisement very similar to the one Wallace finds. The ad was an old man, offering a rent-free room with the catch that the tenant has to wear a walrus costume and behave like one from time to time. To everyone's astonishment, the ad actually received over 400 responses, despite the fact that the ad was placed as a joke, written by Chris Parkinson of Brighton, England. So essentially, Smith took the idea and twisted it to that 'Human Centipede' standard, throwing in some fairly solid comedy along the way.
Although it delivered a few solid laughs, however, this kind of thing is not up my alley as far as the horror aspect goes, and it's just plain weird and uncomfortable to sit through. To be fair, that IS the point, but I think it's safe to say that we all have something we don't like to see in movies. For me, it's basically any form of something torturous, and experimentation such as this totally counts. It had its moments, but for now, it's probably the Kevin Smith movie I'd furthest disassociate myself with.
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