Tusk

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Tusk Movie Poster Image
Gruesome, unfunny horror-comedy from Kevin Smith.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The main character is a selfish, cruel person, but certainly his punishment far exceeds his crime. This movie takes place in a world where terrible things happen, and then ... that's it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main podcaster, Wallace, is shown to be mean, careless, and callous while enjoying the wealth, fame, and sex that come with his success. He was apparently once a nice guy, and his girlfriend preferred him like that, but now he's a jerk and he insists that he's much happier. The rest of the characters are killers and/or comical cops.

Violence

The movie is very nearly at the level of the "torture porn" subgenre of horror, as in The Human Centipede, except that it takes breaks for comedy every so often, and the tone is generally lighter. In any case, it's still very disturbing. The killer cuts off the main character's legs, operates on him, uses his leg bones as "tusks," sews up his arms, and forces him into a walrus "suit" made of flesh. There's a showdown between man and walrus that includes stabbing. Lots of blood is shown. In flashback, viewers see a man tearing into a dead walrus and eating it raw. In a video, a kid slices off his leg with a sword; he later commits suicide (off screen). Another dead "walrus" is seen at the bottom of a tank. A man tells a story of being raped as a child.

Sex

No nudity is shown, but a couple is interrupted during oral sex in their bedroom, and strong sex talk is very frequent. A man talks crudely about cheating on his girlfriend while he's on the road. He also uses phrases like "came in my pants," and "popping my cherry." His girlfriend is shown in a bra and other sexy outfits. An older man's naked bottom is shown.

Language

As usual in Kevin Smith movies, language is constant and includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "prick," "bitch," "c--k," "Christ" (as an exclamation), "a--hole," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wallace is given drugged tea; he gets dizzy and passes out. Early on, he has a casual drink in a bar. He's also shown smoking a cigarette in a flashback.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tusk is a horror comedy written and directed by Kevin Smith, based on one of his own podcasts. The horror part is very gruesome and dark, not unlike The Human Centipede, but with some (supposed) comic relief from time to time. There's lots of blood, some horrific operations, and both physical and emotional torture. Language is very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and all kinds of other words. Sexual innuendo and sex talk are also extremely strong, with crude references, sexual situations (including implied oral sex), and a girlfriend in sexy outfits. A main character also smokes a cigarette. This movie has tons of Internet buzz, as Smith asked fans whether they wanted to see it before he made it, and teens may take sitting through it as a kind of dare.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymovienerd95 December 24, 2014

A Whole New Kind Of Weird

Tusk has a very good appealing cast and a very different idea but parents do need to know that although it's meant to be a dark comedy it is incredibly bru... Continue reading
Adult Written byMalcom Johnson August 26, 2018

Very Average film, and is so fake it is funny

The reason i gave this a 5 plus is because it is so unrealistic it is actually a quite funny film.
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah September 19, 2014

One of the worst movies of the year. A totally boring, obnoxious mess.

Oh, A24 Films, why did you do this to us? You pamper us with amazing and unique movies like Locke, Spring Breakers, Enemy, and Under the Skin, and then you give... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byFat Lenny February 28, 2015

Walrus horror is well-acted and humorous in parts, but second half too disturbing for its own good

I was interested in Tusk from the getgo. Kevin Smith has a knack for directing good movies, even though some of his most recent have been flops, and I knew I ha... Continue reading

What's the story?

Popular podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) makes a living making fun of people, including a poor kid who accidentally sliced off his leg while performing lightsaber moves. He travels to Canada to interview the kid but meets with some bad luck. On the hunt for a new story, Wallace finds a handbill written by an old sailor, Howard (Michael Parks), who wants to tell his incredible true sea stories -- including his rescue by a walrus. Unfortunately, it turns out that Howard's real plan is to turn Wallace into a walrus (yes, you read that right) to recreate his experience. Meanwhile, Wallace's sidekick (Haley Joel Osment), his girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez), and an ex-cop (a heavily disguised Johnny Depp, credited as "Guy Lapointe") must find him before it's too late.

Is it any good?

The idea for Kevin Smith's latest film came from his own podcast, and it smacks of a dare, rather than any real desire to tell a story. It seems as if the idea for TUSK must have been a good deal funnier to the folks behind the scenes than it is to the audience; in fact, it's not even clear which parts are meant to be funny. The movie shifts uneasily between horror and comedy. And the horror isn't scary or moody; it's just highly unpleasant, like a dumbed-down version of The Human Centipede.

While the comedy, such that it is, comes as a welcome relief from the gruesome parts, it's a far cry from Smith at his funniest or warmest. It's amusing for a little while to watch Guy Lapointe and try to figure out why he looks so familiar, although his shtick gets a little tiresome. The only other pleasure in the movie is watching Parks in a flashback scene, playing with a totally different personality. He's a terrific actor, truly edgy and sometimes scary. He deserves better films.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Tusk's gruesome violence. How did it affect you? What's appealing about watching "torture porn" horror movies? Are they scary? If not, what's the point?

  • How do comedy and horror mix together in this movie? How do they help or hinder each other? What other comedy-horror movies have you seen, and how did they compare?

  • How does Wallace behave toward others? Why would a podcast dedicated to making fun of people become so popular? What's appealing about it?

  • Does Wallace deserve his fate? How do you think the movie would have played out if he had been nicer?

  • Why is sex such a big topic in this story? Why does Wallace talk about it so much? What's his attitude toward his girlfriend?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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