Film Review: Eli Craig’s TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL (2010)

This is one of the best movies you will see all year and everyone should watch it. Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is the funniest, smartest, and most lighthearted satire of horror movie tropes to be released since Shaun of the Dead. Playing with some of the most tiresome and common clichés of slasher movies, this film manages to cast the entire horror genre in an original and refreshingly light.

 Opening on what appears to be a southern Appalachian forest and mimicking a shot made infamous in Deliverance (and echoed in The Descent), the film introduces us to a band of unwitting and mostly dull-witted ‘college kids,’ who we all know will meet a gruesome end by the film’s conclusion. Headed off on a Memorial Day camping trip (why would anyone ever go camping in the South? Seriously, only bad things happen there), they have a brief encounter with Tucker (Alan Tudyk, Firefly) and Dale (Tyler Labine), two well-intentioned rednecks off to fix up their dream vacation home. Unsurprisingly, they completely misinterpret Dale’s attempt to make small talk with the lovely Allison (Katrina Bowden of 30 Rock)…perhaps partially because he brings along a scythe to casually lean-on as he bumbles through an introduction.

 Depressed by his inability to communicate with women, Dale and Tucker head off, towing assorted home-improvement devices like a wood chipper, nail gun, and chainsaw. After a hilarious run-in with a local cop and some accidental homosexual undertones (sorry, going to point out Deliverance again), they reach Tucker’s new vacation home, a run-down cabin in the woods facing a nearby lake, and discover a few ‘structural deficiencies.’ Meanwhile, the college kids get drunk by a camp fire and a very American Psycho-esque Chad (Jesse Moss) tells them the tale of the Memorial Day Massacre, a bloody incident that happened in the same spot and only left one survivor. Sufficiently creeped-out by the story, the crew decides to go skinny dipping – logically – in the same area Tucker and Dale are out night fishing. Attempting to leave before they are mistaken as peeping toms, the two startle Allison, who falls into the water and hits her head. Despite their lack of hygiene and grammar, the two hillbillies wouldn’t harm a fly and Tucker dives in to rescue her. Dale shouts out ‘We got yer friend’ and the misunderstanding devolves into a full-blown bloodbath. The college kids set out to rescue Ally and kill the ‘psychos,’ while Tucker and Dale are left confused and terrified by the bizarre and completely inept attempts on their lives (‘This must be one of those suicide cults.’)

 Eli  Craig and Morgan Jurgenson have penned an incredibly fun movie full of fantastic horror references – Tucker accidentally mimicking the behavior of Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) as he runs away from hornets while wielding a chainsaw, Deliverance and its now ubiquitous portrayal of hillbillies, Halloween, any movie with a cabin, and even silent movie villains with a fondness for abandoned lumber mills/rotating circular saws. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine make a great pair and have excellent chemistry with one another onscreen. Katrina Bowden is sufficiently likeable and exceedingly attractive.

 In short, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is a wonderful film that deserves as much recognition and love as Shaun of the Dead. You need to go watch this movie immediately.

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Comments (5)

  1. Paul

    OK I am watching this tonight – I had seen this advertised but it was a bad trailer it was on itunes I think apple was trying to dis-credit it.

    December 6, 2011
    • constantineintokyo

      Good! Be sure to let me know what you think! 🙂

      December 6, 2011
      • Paul

        It was AWESOME 🙂 I rarely laugh out loud (lol) and in this film I did for most of the film.

        Alan Tudyk from Serenity 🙂 🙂
        Tyler Labine from Reaper
        And Brandon Jay McLaren from she’s the man (yes I watched this :P)

        Great actors.

        I liked how you could see how the teenagers might see how Tucker and Dale could be the hillbillies from the “deliverance”

        The “we have your friend!” (In hillbilly accent) line when they rescue the girl was hilarious!

        All I hope is that they don’t make a sequel as it really is a one off however Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine have some on screen magic going on which would work in any other time of movie they chose to work together in.

        Hat tip to you Constantine for reviewing this as after watching the trailer on iTunes it doesn’t do the film justice… there some underhanded mastermind not wanting this low budget film to do well….

        December 7, 2011
        • constantineintokyo

          Yeah, I’m really shocked that this movie isn’t more popular/well-known. There must have been something funky with its distribution.

          December 7, 2011
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