Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2011)

Posted: May 1, 2011 in Movies

Looking for a good comedy/horror spoof? Look no further! Now I know the genre has been riddled with some pretty awful movies (most notably the Scary Movie franchise,) but there have been some gems over the years. Shaun of the Dead was probably one of the best films of the last 10 years, so it’s not surprising that these movies are being made. One of the more recent entries to the game is Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.

This is the first feature for writer and director Eli Craig. People told him that this project was a mistake, that is was a bad idea and that a guy jumping headfirst into a wood chipper just wasn’t funny. I and more than a few others are glad he didn’t listen. A self-admitted comedy writer who grew up with horror movies, but had grown bored with them, Craig gives us a fresh and loving spin on the genre, more respectful and funnier than any spoof movie has ever thought about being.

There’s really two movies going on here at once that just happen to intertwine in the middle of the Appalachian wilderness. Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and buddy, Dale (Tyler Labine) are heading off into the mountains to Tucker’s new fishing cabin – and by new, I mean a busted up old cabin that looks like it was airlifted off the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” set, but it’s new to Tucker, and he couldn’t be more proud of his new “vacation home.”

On their way up to break-in the new oasis, they encounter a group of college kids off for a weekend of debauchery in those very same mountains. During a brief encounter with them at the local bait shop, Dale, with Tucker’s encouragement, works up the nerve to talk to one of the lovely co-eds, Alison (Katrina Bowden). It doesn’t go well and the kids beat a hasty retreat from the scary hillbillies. This is the premise for the second part of the movie. It’s typical horror-movie fodder – college kids out camping and scared to death of the hillbilly/killers that lurk in the darkness. What follows is pure greatness.

While the death toll keeps rising, Tucker & Dale remain dumbfounded as to how these dead bodies keep happening around them, while the group of teens plan to exact their revenge on the two bumpkins (which they assume – of course – to be sadistic killers.) It’s hilarious, it’s original, and it is definitely worth finding out what happens next.

Craig clearly knows and loves the genre. He know what makes it’s dark little heart beat and knows how to make light of it while still being true to its essence. It carries its own sense of humor, without copycatting anything from any other films. What’s magical about the film is that you feel like you’ve seen it before, yet have no idea what’s going to happen next. The casts fantastic performances only add to the magic. Tudyk and Labine work perfectly together as the not-your-ordinary-horror-movie hillbillies. They came across as more of a Abbott & Costello than a Freddie & Jason, and the chemistry is perfect. The supporting cast of “college kids” all do great jobs – though I have to say the film’s first few moments made me a little concerned, they stepped up and each gave us great moments, particularly Jesse Moss’ type-a douchebag, Chad. I’m pretty sure the black kid was one of the Power Rangers, too – which was just as funny as it was trivial.

You won’t regret watching this film. The effects aren’t perfect, but this IS an independent film (which rated very well at it’s Sundance premiere.) It’s by no means groundbreaking, but in a genre lost in stupid, predictable spoof and nonsense, this film is a refreshing reminder of what the genre should be.


IMDB: Link | Pre-Order: Amazon


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