Kevin Smith’s Tusk Review From Fantastic Fest. A New Milestone For The Director

Kevin Smith’s Tusk Review From Fantastic Fest. A New Milestone For The Director

Randall Walrus
Welcome back, Kevin Smith.

We just finished the Tusk screening at this year’s Fantastic Fest, and I’m filled with the warmth I can only liken to a lapsed Catholic being moved by mass. Once a die hard Kevin Smith fan (and, as such, a Kevin Smith apologist), I enthusiastically wore Jay and Silent Bob t-shirts every day, tracked down every international Chasing Amy movie poster I could find, attended every Vulgarthon film festival, and many, many other nerdy endeavors. Over the past decade that enthusiasm waned as Smith’s output declined in quality. When I heard he was retiring from filmmaking, my reaction was little more than a shrug.

Kevin Smith Tusk
After tonight, I’m glad that retirement didn’t last too long, as he debuted Tusk at the 2014 Fantastic Fest, which is the perfect place for such an odd little movie. It’s a Kevin Smith film–his DNA is all over it (only slightly meant to be a semen joke he’d appreciate)–but it’s unlike any film he’s made before. The break did him good. Here we have a film in the tradition of early Cronenberg, maybe a little David Lynch, some John Landis, and has a huge debt to Brian Yuzna and, more recently, Tom Six. In other words, a worthy entry to the realm of body horror.

The premise is simple enough, a podcaster (Justin Long) gets trapped by a crazed old man (the delightful Michael Parks), who aims to turn his prisoner into a walrus. Yes, that’s the premise. How the old man goes about it needs to be seen, but it’s bloody, gross, and highly unbelievable, but I bought in. It’s not a film with a wide appeal, but it’s certainly going to appeal to the right sort of person.

Justin Long Tusk
Making the press rounds, Smith has talked extensively about this film being a new beginning, no longer beholden to having to tell personal stories on film. He states he no longer has any more personal stories to tell, but now knows he can still tell other stories. If these films are going to be Canada-set horror-comedies, great. Smith has grown-up, even if he’s holding onto his charming but juvenile humor. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

Fortunately I won’t have to wait too long, as his follow-up Yoga Hosers is already in production. That film will follow the adventures of two female teen convenience store clerks  (yes, Smith holds onto his Jersey roots even as he heads up to the Great North), who are introduced in this film, joined by the beloved actor playing Guy Lapointe, who also appears in Tusk. Guy Lapointe, a wonderful and quirky investigator (who would be right at home in a Gregory Mcdonald Flynn novel) , was a fine addition to the second half of the film. It’s mostly common knowledge as to who plays the character, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. As if a movie like Tusk couldn’t get any weirder, an actor you’d never expect in a Smith film shows up.



2 comments on “Kevin Smith’s Tusk Review From Fantastic Fest. A New Milestone For The Director

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