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Tusk is the new horror/comedy film from the mind of writer and director Kevin Smith.  The idea for the movie is based upon Smith’s SModcast 259 where Smith and Scott Mosier discussed an article of the events and created a hypothetical scenario.  Kevin Smith is a jack of all trades and considered by some to be the ultimate fanboy.  He is a screenwriter, actor, director, producer, comic book writer, and so on.  He first received his notoriety with the low-budget independent Sundance hit Clerks.  From there, he has made a number of feature films and is a prominent figure in American pop culture.  Tusk boasts a very good cast with Michael Parks, Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Génesis Rodríguez, and Johnny Depp.  The movie just recently had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before hitting theaters this weekend.

Wallace Bryton (Long), co-host of the famous podcast “Not-See Party”, is travelling to Canada to interview a kid that became an overnight internet sensation for chopping off his leg.  Upon arrival, Wallace finds out that the kid has committed suicide and he must find another interesting person to interview before heading back to L.A.  He stumbles upon a mysterious note from a man offering accommodations and a lifetime of amazing stories for help around his place.  The man, Howard Howe (Parks), lives in the backwoods of Manitoba and Wallace drives out to visit him.  Upon meeting him and hearing some of his amazing stories, Wallace realizes he’s been drugged and he’s at the mercy of this lunatic.  It’s now up to Wallace’s best friend and co-host Teddy (Osment) and Wallace’s girlfriend Ally (Rodríguez) to track him down and get him home safely.  In doing so, they enlist the help of ex-cop and crazy person in his own right, Guy Lapointe (Depp).  There is no time to waste as Wallace’s sense of reality is diminishing all around him.

Tusk is one of the most disturbing movies I’ve seen in quite some time, but the end product is actually quite entertaining.  It is a strange blend of sheer horror mixed with some crazy comedy.  Even though this is a pretty twisted movie, I’d say it’s maybe the best work Kevin Smith has ever done.  He has created all of these over-the-top characters that elevate the movie to a new level.  That said, the characters are really brought to life by the excellent actors.  Michael Parks is brilliant, and I can’t for the life of me understand why he doesn’t work more often.  Justin Long plays the annoying guy that you love to hate to perfection, and Johnny Depp is almost unrecognizable in his role.  The less you know about Tusk before seeing it, the better off you are.  If you’re a fan of horror or even Kevin Smith, this is definitely worth seeking out as it is very original and a fun, yet disturbing, time at the movies.

Grade:  B

Tusk opens in theaters on Friday, September 19.


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