TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL (Dir. Eli Craig, 2010)
There really isn’t “evil” in this movie. It’s just a little misunderstanding that leads to a series of senseless killings where a lot of college kid blood gets on the hands of a couple of innocent backwoods rednecks.
The title characters of this low budget Canadian production are portrayed by Alan Tudyk (Firefly, DEATH AT A FUNERAL), and Tyler Labine in his first starring role, who encounter a group of camping coeds when visiting their new acquired “vacation house” in the Appalachian Mountains. The house is a crumbling old cabin, which looks like it’s straight out of the EVIL DEAD movies or every other horror film ever - and that, of course, is precisely the point.
When undressing to go skinny dipping with her school mates, 30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden falls off a rock and almost drowns, but Tudyk and Labine who are doing some late night fishing, save her and take her back to their place in their canoe, leaving her friends to think they’ve abducted her.
Led by the crazed Jesse Moss, the college kids attempt to rescue Bowden, but that ends up resulting in multiple accidental deaths involving impalings, fire, a chain-saw, and a wood chipper.
Tudyk and Labine, who chalk this up to a “doozy of a day,” think the college kids have made a suicide pact, so there’s that clouding up the murky maniacal mix.
There’s as much a Coen brothers in farce-mode feel to the material, as there is the goofing on a genre jibing of Edgar Wright (SHAWN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ) happening. I was reminded by the relationship of the escaped convict duo of John Goodman and William Forsythe in RAISING ARIZONA, in the funny exchanges of the leads.
Despite their limited intellect, Tucker and Dale have a very funny and actually endearing grasp on a wide vocabulary (Dale claims to remember everything he’s ever heard), and a working understanding of psychological issues which helps when Bowden, who is studying to be a therapist, tries to get everybody to sit down and work things out.
A hilarious hillbilly horror comedy if there ever was one, TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL never runs out of steam. It briskly piles up a bounty of slasher movie clichés with delicious absurdity.
No doubt there’s a following out there for this that will build bit-by-bit by word of mouth, because I definitely sense a future cult classic.