Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2011)
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2011)

Genre: Horror Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.

Release Date: August 26th, 2011 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Eli Craig Actors: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Angela De Corte, Karen Reigh

 


 

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renched in blood, guts, and mixed signals, “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” flips the stereotypes of slasher flicks on end to offer a unique perspective and plenty of hilarity without sacrificing the creativity that often gets lost in such parodies. The dialogue is witty, the deaths are imaginatively vivid, and the acting is appropriately campy and endearing. While the progression is predictable and the polish disappears at times, the clever writing and astute satire make these minor missteps wholly forgivable.

As good-natured hillbillies Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) head to their newly acquired “fixer-upper” vacation home in the backwoods of West Virginia, a gang of rowdy college kids make their way to the same destination for a weekend of camping and drinking. The misconceptions and hasty judgments begin when shy Dale attempts to flirt with beautiful Allison (Katrina Bowden) – and her college pals assume his intentions are of the serial-killer variety. When the young girl accidentally falls into a lake and Tucker and Dale rescue her, prejudicial and antagonistic Chad (Jesse Moss) convinces the rest of the young adults that the two hillbillies are dangerous murderers and must be destroyed. As the confused rednecks attempt to return Allison to her friends, they are thrown into a vicious battle for survival against the enraged kids who begin a bloody assault on the unwitting duo.

The title card shows some degree of low quality, along with the handheld camerawork that doesn’t always appear intentionally frenetic – but the gore and makeup effects are spot on. Likewise, the setup isn’t inherently funny, but there’s just enough off about it to foreshadow merriment. “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” proceeds to demonstrate the two sides to every story, the two interpretations to every action, and the very easy misunderstandings, miscalculations, and miscommunications that occur in moments of the unexpected. “Some people just aren’t any good in a crisis,” mutters Dale. The tables are turned on the traditional hunters, killers, torturers, the pursued and survivors, through ludicrous situational comedy.

The premise is ingenious. What this film really needs is some solid marketing and just a touch of tightening in the editing, dialogue, and pacing. The evolution of events is generally capable, although occasionally contrived. But Tucker and Dale are sensationally purposeful in communicating the story, their characters, and laugh-out-loud humor. Dale’s first interaction with the “average” college girls takes place while holding a threatening scythe and giggling like a lunatic – he chalks up his failure to his tubby face and a slight inferiority complex. Adding to the contrast of their positions, Tucker and Dale aren’t immune to harassment by the local authorities, or the criticisms from one another about immoral activities – despite filling a standardized conception of filth, ignorance, and depravity.

By the end, they’ll have revealed themselves to be emotional, intelligent, caring, and even romantic. It’s the college kids that are the most exaggerated, stereotypical lot (one of each nationality, expectedly); while definitely serving their function, these roles could have been a bit straighter to contrast the goofiness of the leads. The ringleader is appropriately Rambo-esque, however, egging on the mayhem – which is the highlight of this spoof of alone-in-the-woods horror movies and the continual from-bad-to-worse, comedic deterioration of murderous rampages.

– The Massie Twins

  • 7/10