Film Review – Tucker and Dale Vs Evil

Tucker and Dale Vs Evil (MA)

Directed by: Eli Craig

Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss

Four stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Striking that balance of comedy and horror can be tough. Too many laughs and the element of shock and white-knuckle suspense is eroded. Crank up the gore and non horror fans wont even bother. And do you try to be funny while someone is having their head chopped off, or wait a minute for the punchline?

I do not envy those that are faced with the task, but we know it can be done. Scream, anyone? That one even chucked in some social commentary for good measure. Shaun of the Dead is also a good example of a successful comedy/horror. Tucker and Dale Vs Evil will sit comfortably in that limited list of films that do it right.

Dumb but lovable hillbillies Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are on their way to their holiday home in the woods for a vacation. Their modest accommodation is a run down cabin that is moments from collapsing. The past tenants left some curious knick-knacks behind like wind chimes made of bones and newspaper clippings of local mass murders. This doesn’t phase the dopey duo, they just assume they were news buff archeologists.

Their fishing trip is interrupted by some boozed up, sexed up college kids out for their own version of fun. Freaked out by their own campfire tales of chainsaw wielding killers, the idiotic college kids assume Tucker and Dale are crazy, in-bred Deliverance-types by their appearances. When the creepy looking but kind-hearted friends rescue blonde beauty Allison (Katrina Bowden) from drowning in a skinny dipping related accident, her friends think she has been kidnapped.

The college kids’ vigilante inspired attempts to get their friend back are a hilarious juxtaposition to the sweet bond that forms between “kidnapper and kidnappee” Dale and Allison. But when each kid that wields a weapon of some sort ends up accidentally killing themselves, their remaining friends become convinced the hillbillies did it. In turn, Tucker and Dale think they are being attacked out of the blue by crazy kids who have made a suicide pact.

The crazy misunderstandings are the guts of this clever spoof of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn and Friday the 13th.It even manages to offer some food for thought on judging and stereotyping others. The genius of the script is that there isn’t even a serial killer. The energetic cast of mostly unknowns put a lot of effort into this little gem and there is just the right amount of carnage to go with the big belly laughs. It wont deter you from going back into the woods but it might make you think before you judge a book by its blood soaked cover.

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