“Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is a horror comedy written and directed by newcomer Eli Craig in his directorial debut. The film made its premiere at Sundance in 2010, was given a limited release, and has now found its way to Netflix, DVD and Blu.
It stars Alan Tudyk (Tucker) and Tyler Labine (Dale) as a couple of Hillbillies with a cabin in the woods. When a group of college students cross paths with them, they begin to die off one by one…
Except this time, it’s not what you’d expect.
In describing this movie as a “Horror Comedy” it should be noted that this isn’t a movie that is alternately scary and funny, there’s really nothing scary here… Instead, it’s a comedy that derives its humor via a subversion of the deeply established cliches of the horror genre. Particularly the tired standby of a group of college kids that stray off into the woods and wind up hunted by a group of rednecks.
You see, Tucker and Dale are just minding their own business.
The two of them have worked hard and saved for a long time in order to purchase a vacation home for themselves – the aforementioned “cabin in the woods”. They plan to fix it up and clean out all the dust, so that they can come out, have a place to stay, and fish in peace. They’re actually a couple of sweet, harmless guys.
Unfortunately for them, their dream cabin used to be owned by your stereotypical Hillbilly serial killer. So when the camping collegians DO come, the legends of murderous Rednecks are out there already – through no fault of Tucker and Dale.
When the two harmless friends cross paths with the kids, a comedy of errors ensues, where the legends of the past and the history of the area cause the kids to assume the two are out to kill them. When the two help one of the girls of the group who was actually in danger of drowning (by taking her back to their cabin), the rest of the students presume she’s been “taken” by them to be tortured or killed or both.
And they decide they need to rescue her.
This leads to a string of misinterpreted situations, overheard snippets taken out of context, or glimpses of Tucker and/or Dale doing something perfectly innocent that looks… evil. The panic that follows leads the teens to act unsafely. Once a few of them suffer accidental deaths, the rest of them get their backs up against the wall and decide to fight back – against the two harmless hillbillies.
The script has been flipped. The college kids are the hunters and the hillbillies are the hunted.
I liked this flick, I found it very humorous and enjoyable. Tudyk and Labine are great as the eponymous duo beset upon by misfortune. They bumble their way into situations that are easy to misinterpret, and then bemoan and suffer comically when they’re finally besieged by the hostile students. It’s all very funny. It IS a little one note, or one joke if you will, stretched out over the course of the film, but it’s all done well enough that I don’t think anyone would mind.
I’d recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of horror especially, as they will particularly enjoy the in jokes and genre send ups. The fact that it is basically one long gag makes me want to keep this grade “right-sized”, though, so let’s just call it an enthusiastic