Justin does Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

“I should have known if a guy like me talked to a girl like you, somebody would end up dead. “

The Scoop: 2010 R, directed by Eli Craig and starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk and Katrina Bowden

Tagline: The perfect love story…with a high body count.

Summary: Two best buddies find themselves a bit put out when teenagers start murdering themselves all over their new summer home.

Justin’s Rating: Dueling banjos

Justin’s Review: It’s got to be so hard in this day and age to come up with a fresh twist on the hackneyed slasher genre, but God bless Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, because they managed to find a way!  The premise is blissful in its simplicity: The remote cabin in the woods with the two creepy rednecks is actually a vacation house fixer-upper on which two delightfully charming good ol’ boys are working — but the visiting college kids freak out due to overactive imaginations and too much testosterone.

What follows is an inspired bit of role reversal as the hillbillies are terrorized by the teens who accidentally begin to off themselves one by one.  Comic misunderstandings and gleefully gruesome deaths are par for the course, and it couldn’t have happened to two nicer guys.  Tucker and Dale might not be the brightest bulbs in the shed, but they’re both quite genuine and timid, not understanding that everything they’re doing looks like the actions of serial killers to these camping teens.  It’s downright hilarious to watch their horrific expressions grow as the kids start dropping like flies all over the place — and they have no idea it’s just going to get worse from there.

Basically, it’s like Friday the 13th and the Evil Dead retold from the other side’s point of view — and if the other side was actually nicer and much friendlier than the buxom lasses and buffed lads that came to visit.  You’ve got to admit, that’s intriguing.  Plus, it’s got Firefly’s Alan Tudyk, and that right there got one of my friends to watch it without even knowing the plot.

If I were pressed to find a flaw, I would point out two.  One, the romance in this film — between one of the college girls and the dim-witted Dale — never feels natural or believable in any way.    Two, the bulk of the best comedy is in the first half, and once Tucker and Dale sort of figure out why all this is happening, it slows down somewhat.  There are still good chuckles to be had (and plenty of homages as well) in the last 45 minutes, but it didn’t feel as tight as the start.

If you’re in the mood for a good slasher comedy that’s not scary in the least and pokes fun at all of the genre’s over-the-top setups, then you could do far, far worse then rooting for Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

Heather’s Rating: Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Heather’s Review: Two years ago someone posted a trailer to this movie in our forums, and when I watched it I knew instantly that I had to see it, the way I knew that I had to see Shaun of the Dead. I had a sincere interest in the film but, as happens with many things in my life, that passion translated into not actually following the progress of the movie and instead half-heartedly looking for it on Youtube and IMDB and wondering if it had come out on DVD yet. See, even from the beginning I expected that a movie like this wouldn’t see a wide release, if a theater release at all. Imagine my shock when I found out just a few nights ago that some very tiny theaters were showing it in my area! Finally after two years I could see TDvE, and on the big screen, even! It was well worth the wait. (Note: I am aware that this was released in Canada a year or so ago. I do not live in Canada.)

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is the horror spoof I have been waiting for all of my life. Shaun of the Dead was a great spoof, though it decided that it wanted to be a seriously scary movie halfway through; and the Scary Movie series isn’t worth the gallons of fake ejaculate they spewed all over the set. Where these movies failed, TDvE succeeded in every way.

The casting was superb. I’m not familiar with Tyler Labine (of Mad Love fame), but I want to see more of him after his amazing performance as Dale: the teddy-bearish half of the warm-hearted, intelligent due of rednecks caught up in an apparent suicide pact. His best friend, Tucker, is played by Alan Tudyk and if you aren’t familiar with him yet please rectify that. I’m always in love with his performances, and here he had the audience rolling with his (understandable) mounting anger and confusion. And then there was Katrina Bowden (the hot secretary from 30 Rock) as Allison, one of a group of preppy co-eds out camping near Tucker and Dale’s summer house. Bowden plays the part of the self-sufficient, level-headed gorgeous love interest very believably.

Secondly, it picks an overused staple of horror films and sticks with it. Rather than trying to poke fun at all of the silly things scary movies try to convince us are terrifying, TDvE focuses on one and making that one work really, really well.

Alright, I suppose I’ve Mexican-Hat-Danced around the plot long enough: Tucker and Dale are headed to their summer home (a disheveled cabin in the middle of nowhere) and on the way meet up with the co-eds at a gas station. These same co-eds had previously run them off the road, which prompted one of my favorite scenes: Tucker and Dale shoot them evil, slack-jawed looks as they pass that makes the kids nearly pee themselves with fear. If you don’t know what that’s amazingly funny, you haven’t watched enough of these hillbillies vs co-eds horror movies, because that’s one of the most cliched scenes in the book.

At the gas station Dale, egged on by his friend Tucker, gets the courage up to go talk to Allison and her friends and makes a complete creep out of himself (Note: Scythes are the worst ice breaker in the history of bad ice breakers). The kids are freaked out, Tucker and Dale are insulted, and everyone takes off. This all builds up to a terrible misunderstanding when Allison knocks herself unconscious during a night of skinny dipping and Tucker and Dale, out fishing, hurry over to save her. Things having gone they way they have, her friends come to the conclusion that Allison was kidnapped by the eeeeeeevil rednecks and rush to save her. Eventually. The next day.

This is where things start to get suicide-y. While Allison is recovering inside the cabin, her friends kinda keep murdering themselves on the farming implements that Tucker and Dale are working on outside. I don’t exaggerate when I say that the theater erupted in laughter while Tucker screamed and cried as he pulled half a kid out of a wood chipper.

I want to take a break here and mention that this midnight showing happened in a hipster-y little theater full of hipster-y people. I was shocked that one, and only one, guy applauded when a can of PBR was opened on screen. I suppose it shouldn’t have been that surprising after all, though. There’s only so long a person can go on drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon booze allowance is more than the change they dug out from under the laundromat washers. PBR isn’t cheap because it’s meant to be an ironic form of showing your cool; it’s cheap because it’s water flavored with the tears and urine of its factory workers.

But I digress: This movie was such a brilliant parody of horror films, bringing in all of the crucial elements, right down to the eventual antagonist, and not losing the beat at all. Every shot was perfectly orchestrated to illicit a cacophony of laughter, every actor gave it his/her all. There was real drama and horror towards the end for our main characters, but it never stopped being hilarious. The chemistry between the actors (especially Labine and Tudyk) is phenomenal. If you grew up loving the Friday the 13th series and inbreds-murder-co-eds shlocky flicks, it’s worth a trip to your local hipster den to check out.

"Anyone up for a game of frisbee?"

Intermssion!

  • After the cabin explodes, Chad’s neck is charred. His necklace is perfectly intact. After the explosion it should have at the very least stuck to his neck or melted.
  • “Woody” the chipper disappears and reappears in subsequent shots. They’re towing it when they leave the store, but it’s gone when they get pulled over. It then reappears as they’re pulling into the cabin.
  • I lost track of how many times the characters say “psycho killer”.
  • One more reason that bees and wasps should be wiped off the face of the planet.

Groovy Quotes

Tucker: He’s heavy for half a guy.

Dale: That’s a PBR Buddy.
Tucker: That, that’s a thing of beauty.

Tucker: Oh hidy ho officer, we’ve had a doozy of a day. There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property.

Dale: You thought I looked like some kind of freak?
Allison: We misjudged you Dale. I’m… I’m really sorry.
Dale: Don’t be sorry, it’s my fault. I should have known if a guy like me talked to a girl like you, somebody would end up dead.

Tucker: Tell ‘er that you got a vacation home. That’ll prob’ly impress ‘er.
Dale: Our you out of yer mind, Tucker? These are college girls, okay? That probably grew up with summer home and guys like me fixin’ their toilets.

Tucker: I saw yer friend out there. He must be allergic to bees or somethin’ ’cause he was runnin’ like a bat outta hell!

Tucker: This vacation sucks.

If You Liked This Movie Try These:

  • Shaun of The Dead
  • Army of Darkness
  • Maybe the first Scary Movie, but only the first one.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil « A Film Log

  2. Pingback: TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL « Written in Blood

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