Tucker And Dale Vs Evil

I have not seen a movie that made me laugh as hard as this one did in quite some time. I’m talking laugh out loud, in danger of choking on my popcorn and coke at any given moment funny. I’ll go ahead and say up front that I hope the director and the (surviving) cast consider a sequel (and I rarely ever hope for a sequel). I regret not having seen this on the big screen, but I guess it only got a limited release in 2011.

The setting of the familiar to genre fans. It revolves around the ‘cabin in the woods’ that many slasher films feature. It has the typical group of young college kids taking a camping trip, mocking the hillbilly locals. And you now many of them will be dead by film’s end. The differnce in this film and all of those other films that feature this sort of thing is that, A) the hillbillies aren’t necessarily the bad guys.. and B) this is actually an intelligently written film. Okay, when I say ‘intelligently written’ I don’t want to scare anyone off if you’re fan of these types of films and think that they’re going for Academy Awards here. What they’re going for is big laughs and for me, they more than delivered.

 

The film starts like your usual run of the mill low budget horrror flick. Two people  with a camera are exploring a structure in the woods when they are quickly dispatched by the usual axe wielding denizen of these types of affairs. Then the movie flashes back to ‘3 days ago’ where a group of college kids (obvious city slickers) are driving to their camping site when they decide to make a stop at a store populated by the creepy looking locals.

All of the store’s redneck employees and shoppers giving  sinister/salacious glances at the would be campers. Then the filmmakers flip the premise on its ear and focus on two locals. Two redneck locals.

The two locals are, of course, Tucker and Dale of the movie title, admiring the college girls from afar. Tucker (Alan Tudyk), the bolder of the two, talks the nervous Dale (Tyler Labine) into approaching one of the girls (Katrina Bowden). It doesn’t go well.

The two groups part ways. We find out Dale and Tuck are on their way to a ‘fixer upper’ that the two of them bought to serve as a vacation cabin. Leatherfce would consider this place a home away from home. It’s dangerously dilapidated. And that’s where I would say, “find out the rest on your own”. I’ve actually already said too much. This movie (like all movies) is best when you know nothing about it.

Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk make a great tandem and sort of remind me of other horror tandems from films like Tremors or Shaun Of The Dead. Tudyk’s usually great in anything he’s in, though, having appeared in much bigger films like Serenity and 3:10 To Yuma. He plays the leader of the two Beta males.

Labine’s Dale could almost be one of those hulking psychopaths like Jason or Leatherface if he bulked up a little more and maybe practiced looking scary a lot more. However, his character’s personality is quite the opposite. He’s the one in need of social guidance, but is more of the film’s protagonist.  He’s instantly likable (at least for me).

And Katrina Bowden… Wow. Who wouldn’t want want to see more of her? And that probably sounded a lot creepier than I meant it to. Anyway…  Bowden just lights up the screen every time she appears, playing a character that you can’t help but like. Besides being, you know, really hot, her Allison is the sweet, down to earth girl next door, not to mention taking the various abuses heaped on her in stride.  She’s on her way to earning her stripes as a scream queen of the intelligent variety if she turns up in any more horror flicks.

 

The cinematography was outstanding. I don’t think there’s a better looking ‘cabin in the woods’ film out there (and not entirely because of Bowden). The script is incredibly witty and original given the genre. I loved all of the various accidents and misunderstandings that occur throughout the film. There are various nods to the iconic standards of the genre like the Texas Chainsaw massacre and Evil Dead.  It’s just a fun movie that’s worth seeing whether you’re  a fan of horror films or not. There is a bit of gore, but it’s cartoonish… That is if cartoonish can mean very bloody.

I look forward to seeing Eli Craig’s next outing. I hope it’s in the horror genre (and again, I’m holding out hope for a sequel). This made my ‘Best 10 Films of 2011‘ List. Sure, it was released originally in 2010 for some film festivals; I always consider at least the limited US release date as the one I go by. It would probably make my Top 10 in any year it was released, though.

4.5 of 5

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