Director: Eli Craig
Release Date: 9 December 2010
Running Time: 89 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Editorís Rating: 3.5 person-sized skewers out of 4
All people are people. Itís a concept that movies have a really hard time with, especially scary movies. Nothing makes you set to root for the other side than a big scary monster like Jason Voorhees. Now, thereís no big deal with that, especially if the horror flick in question features, well, a demon or some such other terrifying beast. However, there have been many slasher flicks where the baddies happen to be some horribly twisted version of humanity - films like The Hills Have Eyes , Wrong Turn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre all demonstrate that a popular subject of films like these have been stereotypical people of the southern United States, or more insensitively, rednecks. And that is whatís so much fun about Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Hey, these guys are people too, man!
So Tucker and Dale are two best buds who are going up to Daleís new vacation home up in the West Virginia mountains. They end up crossing paths with a group of college kids whoíve come up for a little vacation of their own. What happens is a ridiculous massacre fueled by one personís obsessions and the stupidity of college kids, and a gigantic chain of misunderstandings. Psh, who says $10,000 a semester actually teaches you anything?
The film has a very clever concept, the inversion of a classic horror movie trope used for comic effect. Does anyone ever think for a second that the redneck with boils all over his face and a running chainsaw is running toward you because heís running away from the swarm of angry hornets whose home just happened to be in the tree trunk he was cutting for firewood? Best of all, the film never has to force us into feeling for them - Alan Tudyk (Dale) and Tyler Labine (Tucker) give awesome performances and give the characters a charm that works for both individually, but comes out in spades when they share scenes together. They have an awesome chemistry with one another, and it really feels like theyíve been friends since Kindergarten. Tudyk, whoís a rather storied character actor, is right at home doing a country bumpkin, but itís Labine who really shines in his role. Heís just a loveable goofball with a latent intelligence he doesnít have the confidence to show off. Thankfully, heís got a couple of good friends in Dale and Allison (who we'll be getting to directly), who really give him the reassurance he needs to improve himself over the course of the film.
The token romance that arises in the film is another point of empathy for Tucker. Allison, the seemingly unattainable college beauty, originally thinks Dale is some twisted hillbilly with intentions on his mind that can be described as ďrhyming with Ďgrape-y.íĒ But a little while after he saves her life, she realizes thereís more to Tucker than a trucker hat.
The violence in this movie is a great training exercise in schadenfreude - who says people impaling themselves canít be funny? Needless to say, I canít recommend this movie to kids. Itís a little nasty at times, and requires some investment in other, bloodier movies to actually enjoy all the humor the film has to offer. That aside though, itís a fun movie with a good message. Itís just covered in blood and gore. And beer.
**I watched this movie through an online streaming service I pay for. I was not compensated for this review.