Tucker & Dale vs Evil Review
If there are two things (among the many things) I love about filmed entertainment, they’re Sam Raimi movies and Alan Tudyk. Even if the TV show or film is absolutely fucking terrible (I’m looking at you, Transformers 3) I will enjoy Alan Tudyk no matter the faults. Luckily for everyone involved, Alan Tudyk is not the only saving grace of this production.
The titular characters Dale and Tucker, played by Tyler Labine (of Reaper and Sons of Tucson fame) and Alan Tudyk (of Alan Tudyk fame) respectively, are two well meaning hillbillies who go out into the woods to fix up their new and completely heterosexual vacation home. While on their way up to the house, they creep out a group of brightly dressed, sexy young college students who are also going out into the woods to (presumably) do drugs, have pre-marital sex and get slaughtered. This becomes problematic for the two hill folk when, while saving of the kid’s lives, they are seen by the other kids who assume they are kidnapping their friend and are going to do horrible, nasty things to her. From there everything goes sideways for all those in the woods, leading to hilariously gory deaths and some really funny comedy.
So let’s start with Tucker and Dale. From just looking at them they look like the kinds of guys you would see as the lead men in a horror comedy, or to be more specific a British horror comedy. You got Tucker, who looks like the reluctant hero who will rise to the occasion, take out the bad guys and get the girl with very minor injuries. Then there’s Dale, a big motherfucker who would be there for the comedy bits and to make the trials of the hero even harder because of his stupidity. But that is not the case. These two are about the same intellectually and just as detached and confused as everyone else in this movie is. When they get to their cabin in the woods, they see bones hanging from the ceiling, newspaper clippings of murders and a trick board that smacks whoever knocks it down in the face with a bunch of nails. But what they see is a cabin that used to belong to an archaeologist who really liked the news and that needed to be fixed up. Tudyk and Labine play off of each other really well and have great chemistry together. I really hope they get together for something else like this real soon.
But while they are the stars of this picture, my favorite parts are the ones with the kids. If you got my reference above, you know what kinds of kids they are. They are pretty stupid, end up taking everything out of context that our heroes say and see themselves in an actual 80’s slasher flick. They even dress in the bright colors that you would expect a slasher’s victims to wear. But there are two things that make these kids really great. The first is that they always end up causing their own deaths. In one of the first deaths in the movie, Tudyk is being attacked by a swarm of bees. He runs out from behind the cabin screaming and swinging a chainsaw around, because he chopping wood, and the kids run off screaming thinking he’s gonna carve them up. Tudyk runs after one of them, completely by accident, and this kid is rightfully freaked out. But, in a prime of example of why you always watch where you are running in a horror movie, he impales himself on a tree. Other kids throw themselves into wood chippers or light themselves on fire, and every single time the other kids are looking away for just long enough to miss this and see Tucker and Dale trying to help them and thinking that these two hillbillies just murdered their best friends. It is kind of fitting actually, seeing as how two stars of this movie were also in Final Destination 3, which also had a bunch of hilarious deaths that were their own damn faults. Secondly, if this had have been just a straight up slasher film, the girl who gets taken by the hillbillies would still have been more safe than if she had stayed with her friends. One of the kids, and you’ll know who it is when you see him, just starts to unravel as the movie progresses and it is done really well. The actor, Jesse Moss, does a really good job of building up to the crazy and just goes all out when he finally snaps. That sound spoiler-y, but believe me you know where Eli Craig is going with this within the first half of the film.
Again referring to that synopsis paragraph, there was potential in this movie for gay jokes. I mean think about it: Two hillbillies, neither of whom are good with the ladies, buy a vacation home together then go out to fix it up in the woods where there shouldn’t have been anyone around for miles. But luckily, the movie does not go into that. It has one gay joke really early on but it comes and goes (heh heh, “comes”) really quickly and we never hear of it again. Most of the humor in the movie comes from the deaths, the kids’ reactions to what they are seeing out of context, as well as Tucker and Dale’s reactions to what the kids are doing. Like I said, the kids always see thing with so little context that they cannot help but misinterpret. Whenever Tucker and Dale and trying to tell them what happened, they keep yelling “We got your friend!” Without knowing that their friend was hurt and they helped her out, that sounds pretty intimidating. They even carve it into a tree stump with a hatchet, which makes it even worse. Tucker and Dale have about as much of a grasp on what’s going on as these poor fucks and take things in an entirely different direction with their own insane theory about why all these kids keep dying and why they are trying to kill them. It all goes real crazy and none of the characters really have any idea what is happening until the very end.
The sets for this movie take very strong influence from Sam Raimi movies and some Friday the 13th as well. The cabin looks like it was pulled directly out of The Evil Dead and the woods look like Jason Voorhees’ kind of place. There plenty of fallen branches for kids to trip over or impale themselves on and there a couple of really cool back lit shots that I really liked.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a great horror comedy. It takes the aesthetics of 80’s slasher films and gives it a fresh coat of blood and comedy. It revels in the stupidity of the victims of those movies and twists it by making the supposed killers victims themselves. It is a funny movie with some great kills, great atmosphere and great performances from all involved. If you get a chance to see this movie, don’t miss out.
Final Score: 4.5/5