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Ever seen a horror movie with hillbillies in it? They're usually psychotic chainsaw-swinging inbred cannibal psychos who like to murder anyone who happens to drive by.

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.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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