Kevin Smith is clearly having fun with his recent films. Both Tusk and its followup, Yoga Hosers, are filled with the off-beat humor, strange plots, and stranger characters you would expect from his early independent features. Yoga Hosers, in particular, showcases a sense of levity not seen in many years. This is grand achievement considering the enemy, the big bad monster, of his newest horror/comedy is the last vestiges of the actual Nazi party from World War II. Colleen (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen (Harley Quinn Smith), the two sarcastic teens from Tusk who pointed eccentric French-Canadian investigator Guy Lapointe to the home of the serial killer who kidnapped a podcaster and turned him into a humanoid walrus, are still working in the same convenience store. It's owned by Colleen's father. They take frequent breaks to play original and cover punk rock music with a 35 year old drummer in the backroom, drawing the ire of customers. Then people start dying in and around the store and the girls have to take an interest in something besides their strip mall yoga practice.
Yoga Hosers is a cross between Heathers, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and a Troma horror film. Kevin Smith captures an eerily accurated, disaffected, social media-obsessed teenage voice in the two Colleens. The two teens are so believable that all the nonsense that follows with internal murders (the perpetrator enters one end and comes out the other), the Canadian Nazi Party (led by Haley Joel Osment), and yoga as a combat technique is grounded in honesty.
So much of Yoga Hosers intentionally makes no sense. It's almost a musical horror film about teenagers fighting 70 year old Canadian Nazi technology because the songs the Colleens sing and eventually battle to are narratively relevant. The girls are filed with too-cool retro video game references that fight their inability to leave their cellphones and Instagram accounts alone, except for RPG-styled character sheets introducing every other character in the film. The CGI in the fights is pure cartoon, but the prior video game imagery establishes that as a relevant and believable choice for the could-be insanity of the Colleens following a traumatic event.
The entire time I watched Yoga Hosers, I just kept thinking how cute the film is. It's adorable. Everything about the Colleens--their friendship, their relationship with their bosses/father and step-mother, their calculated cool personas--is just so sweet. Depp and Smith are a wonderful pairing that take on the challenge of headlining such a bizarre film and match the presence of standout castmembers like Natasha Lyonne (as the gold digging stepmom), Justin Long (as strip mall yoga instructor Yogi Bayer--pun intentional unless he's talking to legal counsel), and Tony Hale (as the too cool, too emotional father). Because you believe in their relationship, you take the rest of the film in without question.
The appeal of Yoga Hosers comes down to this: if you like the early Kevin Smith films and can handle a gentler style of dialogue, you'll love Yoga Hosers. It's every bit as bizarre, hilarious, and unpredictable as the Jay and Silent Bob films, only geared down to believably star two disaffected high school sophomores. It's worth watching just for the sheer absurdity of the last step of the Canadian Nazi Party's master plan and their off-kilter target for global domination.
I never thought I'd be trapped in a scenario where I have to describe a Nazi horror/comedy as cute, but here we are. Yoga Hosers is cute, funny, and disturbing in equal measure.