Horror 102 September 19, 2014
Tusk was inspired by a seemingly random news item that Smith first brought to light on the podcast: A homeowner had posted a notice offering free lodging to some lucky individual, with one catch: Said tenant would be required, now and then, to dress up as a walrus. Smith has taken this little squib and fleshed it out into a rambling tale of obsession and madness. Los Angeles-based Wallace (Justin Long) and Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) host a popular podcast. Intrigued by a handwritten notice he spots in the men's room of a pub, Wallace ends up trekking out to Middle of Nowhere, Manitoba, to meet eccentric, crusty, wheelchair-bound former seaman Howard Howe (Michael Parks). At first Wallace is amused by Howe's Moby Dick-sized seafaring whoppers. Then, after imbibing too much spiked tea, he awakens to discover…
Let's just say that if you're the least bit squeamish, you should have some idea of the mild ewkiness you're in for, though Smith, to his credit, doesn't have much of a taste for torture gross-outs. Wallace becomes a blob of a movie centerpiece, an idea in search of a film worthy of him. Tusk isn't quite it.