Tucker and Dale VS Evil (2010)
(TBC) Running Time: 89 minutes
Director: Eli Craig
Writers: Morgan Jurgensen, Eli Craig
Starring: Katrina Bowden, Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
I can’t believe a horror comedy like this has never been thought of before, and if it has, well it couldn’t have been this good! Tucker and Dale VS Evil is a treat, a real pleasure to watch and a proper Friday night beer movie. Seriously, if you can’t find even the slightest enjoyment out of this film then maybe you aren’t alive at all. That’s not to say the film is without problems, far from it and it is in no way perfect, but for what it is, it really hits the spot.
Tucker and Dale (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) are two harmless hillbillies who have set off for some time away from it all at their “fixer upper” cabin in the woods. They plan to drink lots of beer, fish and have a jolly good time but sadly this is not to be as a group of college kids mistake them for vicious axe wielding serial killer hillbillies and plot revenge for the kidnap of their friend Allison (played by Katrina Bowden, recently voted the sexiest woman in the world and it is clear why that happened!). That is pretty much your plot, but how the whole thing comes about is what makes this film so special. The hillbilly horror film is quite literally turned on its head here as situations arise simply from the fact the college kids have seen too many horror films, make a mistake and panic sets in. However, Tucker and Dale don’t do themselves any favours by doing things that, when seen through the eyes of scared college kids, look 100 times worse.
It all starts off as poor Dale spots the college kids buying beer at your usual country gas station. They look completely out of place and Dale takes fancy to Allison. Tucker dares him to go and speak to her and, nervously but like a man on a mission, Dale heads over with a massive scythe in his hand and tries to ask Allison for a date. Tripping over his words and laughing uncontrollably (Tucker advised him to smile and laugh to give off a friendly vibe) Dale looks like your average serial killer hillbilly. With Chad (Jesse Moss) stepping in to rescue Allison from the so-called brute by doing his best Bruce Lee impression, the college kids quickly jump in their van and speed off. Tucker and Dale have now made an impression on the kids that will ruin their holiday.
This sort of almost staged comedy runs right throughout the film, and for the most part it is superb. Things get really bad for Tucker and Dale as they witness Allison about to jump in the lake in her bikini, starring like perverts, Dale makes a loud noise, Allison spots them, panics and falls in banging her head and knocking herself out. All Tucker and Dale want to do is save her and so they drag her limp body into their boat in order to get her to dry land. The mist settles around them and they call out to Allison’s friends “We’ve got your friend!!” Picture the scene, two hillbillies you’ve mistaken for killers are disappearing in the mist, carrying one of your group onboard who is not moving, screaming to you “we’ve got your friend!!” Clearly the college kids swim in the opposite direction scared to death! Ah, if moments like comedy like that don’t float your boat, then you may as well not bother watching this as this is how the comedy runs for the entire film. The college kids plot revenge and to get Allison back, and one of the group, Chad, seems a little too intent on hurting the hillbillies.
What the film now offers is one moment of grotesque comedy after another as the college kids attempt and attack, but instead cause accidents which make it look like Tucker and Dale are doing it. One of the funniest scenes I have seen so far this year see’s a lad run up behind Tucker with a small knife as Tucker is feeding his wood chipper, oblivious he’s about to get stabbed. As the lad jumps at Tucker, Tucker bends down to pick up more wood, the lad misses and falls head first into the wood chipper!Another scene see’s Tucker (again) cut though a hornets nest with his chainsaw, prompting him to do his best Leatherface impression! I really wanted the film to carry on like this, bordering on slapstick but keeping a fresh and inventive feel that kept the cheesiness away. Sadly, as the film heads towards the end it feels like it runs out of steam, which is a shame. There are still some great moments to be had, like Dale and Chad sitting down for a heart to heart but the level of brilliance and invention that made the first hour so special is lost come the end. There are still accidents, some of the still hilarious even, so its not all doom and gloom. Oh, and if you do feel like switching off, don’t forget the Worlds Sexiest lady is still here, and it is her character at the very core of the films plot so there is plenty of her on screen.
Tucker and Dale, in all fairness, is a blast from start to finish, it is not a long film, so there is no reason to get bored with it. The film serves its purpose extremely well, it knows its limits and uses all resources to create something unique and at times, quite special. When horror and comedy works well, it really does a superb job, and in Tucker and Dale VS Evil, the two genres are a match made in heaven.
[pt-filmtitle]Tucker and Dale VS Evil[/pt-filmtitle]