NOW AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! COMING TO DVD & BLU-RAY NOVEMBER 29TH. ALSO IN LIMITED THEATRES SEPTEMBER 30TH!
Watched this one last night with fellow blogging partner in crime Jesse Bartel, who as i've previously mentioned writes for both The Liberal Dead and The Blood Sprayer. As our girlfriends watched Skate Land (not Stake Land) together in my living room, Jesse and I cuddled up around the computer in my bedroom, freshly brewed cups of pumpkin pie coffee by our sides, and fired up Vudu (awesome service) to rent it On Demand. Now that i've set that most romantic scene (and it was pretty damn romantic), onto my thoughts on the movie!
Tucker & Dale vs Evil has an absolutely brilliant premise, which goes a little something like this. A group of stereotypical youngsters are vacationing in the woods. They're the typical slasher victims and they even seem to be aware that they're in a horror movie. With them in the woods, on their own seperate vacation, are Tucker & Dale, two bumbling hillbillies who mean well but are stereotyped by the kids as backwoods murderers ... these kids have clearly seen too many of the kinds of movies they think they're in. So we have a horror movie about kids in the woods who convince themselves that these two dolts are the Deliverance types, which they most certaintly are not, and pretty soon the kids end up getting knocked off one by one ...due to their own stupidity, though it always manages to appear to the others as if Tucker & Dale did it (in one scene, for example, Tucker is innocently tossing trees into a wood chipper when one of the kids comes running after him to avenge his fallen friends, only to run head first right into the woodchipper and get half his body chewed up and spit out the other end). Poking fun at the fact that there have been so many backwoods hick horror movies that any hillbilly in the woods surely must be a psycho killer, Tucker & Dale is one of the most unique send-ups/spoofs of the genre i've ever seen. And a damn funny one to boot.
Pretty much the entire hour and a half movie plays on the afformentioned premise and while any film that serves a single punchline should by all means get stale about halfway through, if even earlier, the real impressive thing about this one is that it never does. Tucker & Dale manages to be thoroughly entertaining throughout the entire runtime. The joke does very briefly start to wear a bit thin around the middle but just when you start to think the movie has run out of steam, the so called heroes and so called villains switch sides and things once again become a whole lot of fun. And that's what the movie is all about; fun.
Rather than spending time homaging or directly spoofing other horror films, like most horror comedies tend to do, Tucker & Dale instead aims solely for pure fun and entertainment, two areas it exceeds admirably in, making it one of the better horror comedies in recent years. There are a couple noticeable winks and nods to slasher films throughout, but they're admirably few and far between and are all the more effective for it. The movie is not forced or trying to be the next big cult classic, like many similar movies clearly are, it just exists to have fun and deliver pure entertainment for the audience, while at the same time subverting and playing on genre conventions. It never quite pokes fun at the movies or genre it is lampooning so much as it does play on the idea of a humorous series of misunderstandings that are based on the things horror movies have taught us and made us scared of, which is at its essence the brilliance of the film. Tucker & Dale is both smart and cleverly crafted, two things most horror comedies seem to throw by the wayside in favor of lame homages and lamer jokes.
The real highlight of the film for me was the bearded Tyler Labine, who plays Dale. I had previously seen Labine in Zack & Miri Make a Porno, a small role that he turned into one of the funniest things about the movie. This dude is one funny motherfucker and most of the laughs in the film come from him and his hilarious delivery. Alan Tudyk is equally memorable and loveable as Tucker, and the relationship between the two lies at the heart of the film, a heart that surprisingly beats quite strong throughout all the blood splatter and rip roaring laughter. Essentially, it's a bromance film within a comedy that has unknowingly stumbled its way into a slasher film. Gotta love it.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil is both a solid slasher flick, copious amounts of practical gore included, as well as a hilarious comedy about two bumbling backwoods hillbillies. As seperate entities they both work pretty damn well. As combined forces, they mix together to comprise one of the best horror comedies in years. It's funny, it's gory and it's got just about everything else a fan of horror movies could ever ask for. If you like your movies fun, have some friends over and rent this one On Demand as soon as you possibly can. It's one of the most fun films i've watched all year. Sincerely.