In his last movie, “Red State,” writer-director Kevin Smith imagined three teenagers in a small town searching for sex; instead they’re drugged and taken prisoner by a crazy preacher (Michael Parks), and unspeakable things happen to them.
In his new movie, “Tusk,” Smith imagines a sensationalistic podcaster, Wallace (Justin Long, sporting a Geraldo mustache), searching for a story in the backwoods of Manitoba; instead he’s drugged and taken prisoner by a crazy storyteller (Parks again), and unspeakable things happen to him.
Failure of imagination? Yes and no. Because the things that happen to Wallace are much, much worse.
“Tusk,” which is based on one of Smith’s own podcasts, is the most disgusting and pointless movie I’ve seen. Emphasis on pointless. I spent half the movie sick to my stomach.
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Obviously if Smith weren’t talented, I wouldn’t feel this way. More’s the pity. He has talent and uses it for this.
In Manitoba, Wallace plans on interviewing “Kill Bill Kid,” a hapless viral video sensation who lops off his leg with a samurai sword. Except the kid dies before the interview. Wallace’s backup is Howard Howe (Parks), whose mansion has all the trappings of a 1950s horror movie: wrought-iron gate, tchotchkes and Howe himself in a wheelchair.
When Wallace wakes up, he is in a wheelchair, his left leg amputated below the knee. That’s just the beginning of the mutilations and humiliations. If you know the horror film “Human Centipede,” and realize Howe is infatuated with walruses, you’ll understand where this is going.
Wallace’s girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) and his podcast partner Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) search for him with a comic-relief Quebec detective, Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp), who is neither comic nor relief. The only relief is the end of the movie, and even then the bad taste lingers.
Erik Lundegaard: email@example.com