Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
“Expecting to relax at their “vacation home” cabin, two backwoods boys see their trip turn into a nightmare when they’re accused of being psychotic killers”. No movie description could be more perfect in getting across how weird and funny this horror comedy, co-written and directed by Eli Craig, really is. So like all my other reviews that so completely set the internet aflame with conversation and intrigue (no sarcasm there at all folks) I will do my very best NOT to just run down the movie by it’s plot and instead will attempt to focus on shining a light towards some key features that I find a good idea to make notice of. It’s fly by night here people, and I like it that way. Also, in case someone actually manages to read this, like my other reviews, I will be reviewing the movie while I watch it again, as to make sure I get to see everything I want to talk about here. So lets dive right into the fray and take a look at Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.
So right away this movie introduces us to our main cast, and something I want to point out is how well the film does in letting us see the two completely different sides to this story. I’ll break it down as such, in group A, we have the Hicks. This includes our titular characters Tucker and Dale, as well as the other nameless redneck characters we meet along the way. This movie makes the way they are viewed from the opposing side, seem very off putting and creepy. Some scenes in the beginning of the movie really give us some good old freaky Deliverance vibes from them. Of course, in reality, they;re nothing but hillbilly goofballs that seem to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. To be honest, they’re far easier to relate to than Group B. And on group B, they are the COLLEGE KIDS. (When you read that I hope it comes out in a booming voice. It did when I wrote it.) We see Tucker and Dale form their side as maniacs, but of course we also learn otherwise. Yeah I know I sad that already but get over it. Now in most horror films, we side with the COLLEGE KIDS, because most of us aren’t in our element being chased by monsters, demons, zombies, deranged killers, and all other manor of undead spawn hell bent on devouring every inch of our flesh and or soul. OR we are made to side with the monsters, demons, zombies, deranged killers, and all other manor of undead spawn hell bent on devouring every inch of their victims flesh and or soul, because, well because they’re cool. And a lot of horror characters aren’t fleshed out or really interesting anyway. They’re nothing more than chew toys and knife holders. This movie does something a little different. It gives us two different and opposing pints of views that make us not so much side with anyone, rather than just sit back and watch the mayhem that goes on. From Tucker and Dale’s side, we see that the whole movie is just a series of unfortunate events (cheap Jim Carrey movie plug) and from the side of the COLLEGE KIDS, we see two things. One, that our hapless hillbilly good guys look as though they are some sort of freaky Hills Have Eye’s people, just in the woods, and two that the COLLEGE KIDS are a complete gang of total dickheads. So I guess in hindsight we do kind of look at Tucker and Dale a bit better than the douche bag coeds. Now, because I’ve talked for what feels like WAY too long about these characters, I’ll try to wrap up my statements about them here. The film does something different with it’s portrayal of its characters (man I really feel like I’ve said that word too much) and gives us something refreshing. An experience that we more observe, like a person watching an ant farm. An ant farm full of hillbilly’s, 20 something’s and lots of violence all wrapped up in a nice comedic blanket.
Okay, enough about that. Hmm, should I go into the comedy, or into the gore and effects…what to do, what to do? Ah what the hell, lets talk comedy. The comedy in this movie feels like a 50/50 blend of British and American. British comedy seems to take more of a dialogue approach, choosing to be more witty and based on situational humor rather than being vulgar and outgoing. And of course American comedy is the opposite. This movie kind of meets a happy balance. There are moments of everything here, with funny dialogue between Tucker and Dale, situational comedy in scenes with some hick and COLLEGE KID co-mingling, and of course, scenes which are totally funny because that kid just impaled himself on a tree. So it works well and makes the movie a really entertaining hour and a half of “versing Evil”.
So now with the effects and the gore. I’m the kind of person that likes as many practical effects as possible in his horror movies. Now, I don’t mind computer effects in movies and think that enhancing shots can be real benefit to practical effects. This movie does that and very well. It doesn’t take long for some violence to occur, only around 10 or 15 minutes, and it’s pretty cool. A good flashback sequence told by one of the COLLEGE KIDS. If you watch this movie you’ll understand why I keep doing that. Once the carnage really starts, it keeps up at a good pace. The deaths in this movie are fun and outlandish, with an over the top element that plays well with the comedy. The death’s are unbelievable yet work and the gore looks good.
Now as I said in the first segment, I review these movies while watching them, and I’ve noticed some parts in this movie that I find Really funny. One particular scenario that starts around 30 minutes in is particularly hilarious. It blends all the working elements of the film together into what I feel is the best part of the film. It goes on for about 20 minutes and doesn’t feel dragging at all. Which is saying something because the whole film is only an hour and twenty some odd minutes long in it’s entirety. It leads you into the third act wanting to see what’s gonna happen. Now the third act takes a left at the traffic light and really swerves the plot, but it still maintains the humor and good pace of the first two acts. Something I also really like about this film are what feel like all the subtle nods to other films. From Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to Fargo, to The Predator, this movie has a lot of what feel like nice homages for film fans and students. Hell, one of the movies prime settings is a cabin in the woods, Ashley J. Williams anybody?
I really like this movie and think it’s definitely worth a watch. It’s on Netflix so check it out if you can, and if you can find it for a cheap price, then pick it up. It’s a solid horror comedy that’s more than worth your time and checking out.
Final Score: 84%
If you like this movie, check out: Cabin in the Woods, The Evil Dead Series, Shaun of the Dead and Dead Snow