Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
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Tucker and Dale are two best friends on vacation at their dilapidated mountain house, who are mistaken for murderous backwoods hillbillies by a group of obnoxious, preppy college kids. When one of the students gets separated from her friends, the boys try to lend a hand, but as the misunderstanding grows, so does the body count.
Slapdash Scary Movie cycle aside, the slasher genre has proven fairly resistant to effective satire, mainly because the movies themselves already go so far over the top. (After Jason goes to space, where else can you possibly go?) Arriving amidst some monster film festival buzz, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil scores big laughs by slyly inverting the formula, casting the standard backwoods maniacs as bewildered everymen surrounded by accident-prone teens. While it may basically be a one-joke movie, it sustains that joke for a remarkably long time. Kicking off with an effective Blair Witch jab, the story follows Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), two good-natured good ol' boys with aims of fixing up their rickety cabin in the woods into a vacation home. Before they've emptied their first six-pack, they find themselves besieged by a group of stereotypical college kids who start dying in increasingly bizarre ways around them. As the bodies stack like cordwood, the duo's obliviousness only grows. First-time director-cowriter Eli Craig clearly knows his subject material well, trotting out the skinny-dipping coeds and conveniently placed sharp implements with relish, particularly with a wood chipper that really should have received a supporting actor credit. Clever as the concept is, though, it wouldn't stretch nearly as far without the performances, most notably Labine as a Bigfootish idiot savant and 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden as a Final Girl fully aware of the situation's absurdity. Although the invention may sputter at times, Tucker & Dale provides enough amiable chuckles and ridiculous gore to satisfy even the snootiest genre fan. For the sequel, can we get them near a rocket? --Andrew Wright
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But don't expect any of THAT to actually appear in "Tucker & Dale Vs Evil," a clever black comedy that asks, "What if the HILLBILLIES were the innocent victims of the doomed college kids?" Tropes are inverted (or lampshaded), there's gore aplenty, and Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine make endearingly rough-hewn heroes.
West Virginia hillbillies Dale (Labine) and Tucker (Tudyk) have just bought a dilapidated little house out by a remote lake, and plan to spend some time fishing and drinking beer. They also end up rescuing Allison (Katrina Bowden), a college student who hit her head while swimming, and she soon finds that these seemingly terrifying hillbillies are actually kind, gentle and sometimes quite smart.
Unfortunately, Allison's friends get the wrong idea, and think that she's being held captive by a pair of chainsaw-swinging psychos. As they try to attack Dale and Tucker, they end up accidentally dying in bizarre and gory ways. As Dale, Tucker and Allison try to defuse the situation, they also have to deal with the increasingly bloodthirsty Chad (Jesse Moss).
I have no idea why it's taken so long for "Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil" to make it onto DVD, because this movie is absolutely hilarious -- a gory, satirical little comedy that acknowledges every hillbilly-slasher cliche right before turning it on its ear. And yes, writer/director Eli Craig homages many a horror movie, from "Evil Dead" to "Friday the 13th."
And even though it's obviously a spoof, "Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil" is actually very well-written -- clever foreshadowing, a shocking climactic twist, and all sorts of hilarious situations that make Dale and Tucker look... well, like psycho hillbillies. For instance: Tucker accidentally destroys a beehive, and ends up racing through the woods, screaming and waving his chainsaw spastically.
And yes, there are lots of OTHER hilarious moments, such as lampshading hillbilly stereotypes ("Oh, I love Earl Grey") and the college kids' gory deaths (impaling themselves on sticks or jumping into woodchippers).
And the acting is absolutely brilliant. Labine and Tudyk are amazing as the protagonists, respectively playing a sweet timid teddy bear and an outgoing good ol' boy. Yeah, don't judge these guys from their appearances, because you will be ALL WRONG. And the rest of the small cast also does an excellent job, especially given that most of them are shrieking horror movie cliches.
"Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil" is pretty clearly destined to be a cult classic, right alongside other fun spoofs like "Shaun of the Dead." Hilarious, bloody and clever.
Two endearingly dumb hick hillbillies, Dale (Tyler Labine) and Tucker (Alan Tudyk), are happily settling in for a vacation at their ramshackle cabin in the woods when their bliss is disrupted by the arrival of a carload of mindless college kids.
During a late-night fishing excursion, the beer-loving buddies witness a swimming party and rescue one of the girls from drowning, taking her back to their cabin to recover.
While Tucker spends his day working in the woods, Dale devotes every moment to humbly caring for their unexpected guest. Nice, pretty, intelligent and bland Allison (Katrina Bowdan) quickly loses her initial fear of her bearded, beer-bellied Bear of a host as she discovers him to be awkwardly shy, gentle, sweet-natured and seriously cute. In turn, the self-negating Dale is overwhelmed by the acceptance and warmth of this unattainable dream person. The two develop an unlikely friendship and cozily settle down to await the return of her friends.
This is not how Allison's friends perceive the situation. They have been frightened by tales of bloodthirsty killers in the area and are certain that "Final Girl" Allison has been captured by savage rednecks. In their zeal to rescue her, they each rush to the attack - and accidentally cause their own violent, bloody deaths in the best FRIDAY THE 13th manner.
TUCKER AND DALE vs. EVIL, like the classic ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), is that rarity: a Horror-Comedy that honors the genre and works on every level. It can be seen as the Laurel and Hardy version of such rural thrillers as DELIVERANCE and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. In this case the humor is restrained and character-oriented, and all physical comedy stems directly from the situation.
The film's admirable achievement is that it maintains a buoyant sense of humor without ever mocking or compromising genre conventions. The point of view of the two groups of characters determines the alternating shifts of tone. The good ol' boys and their open-minded girl friend see the story as a rustic romantic comedy whereas the shallow college kids exist in a generic slasher-flick dimension, played straight with menacing music and every edge-of-seat beat in place. Whenever the two worlds happen to meet, the resulting absurdity twists the standard blood'n'guts "Kills" as a dynamic unity of shock and laughter. The deft balancing of this sharp contrast is the key to TUCKER AND DALE's success.
Central to the movie's charm are the appealing performances of the three leads; especially big -- and big-hearted -- Tyler Labine, whose personal warmth and good-humor make this a splatter with soul.
Add to this a genuinely warm and moving story of love and friendship between characters we come to care for, and you have a one-of-a-kind indie winner to treasure and remember.
And, oh yeah -- it's awesome on eye-poppin' Blu-Ray, sporting an uproarious commentary track by Labine and Tudyk with director Eli Craig, and a short version of the film re-edited to portray The Boys as REAL mountain maniacs.
Rating: 9/10 4½/5 EXCELLENT
If you like horror comedies this is one to check out for sure. It's good silly fun with great over the top gore! A good choice for Halloween!