Saturday, May 4, 2013

Movie Review: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

The funniest horror movie you'll ever see.

I don't see many good movies (I do see many, many bad movies which look good at the outset and end up being terrible) so when I finally do see one I tend to feel compelled to write about it.  When that movie is not only good but seems like the kind-of thing I'd happily watch again and again I feel the need to alert those I know that they really should see it.  This movie, needless to say, falls into the latter category.

The story begins the way many, many horror movies do: after a short scene where a news reporter and her cameraman are taken out by a disfigured psycho killer as a glimpse of what's to come we rewind to three days earlier where an SUV full of college kids are headed into the woods of West Virginia to camp and be stupid.  On the road, they cut off a truck which soon passes them revealing what will be our two heroes.  At first they look to us like they do to them: like creepy, in-bred hillbillies.

When the kids realize they forgot their beer they head to the store where we are finally introduced to Tucker and Dale.  Tucker is the beloved Alan Tudyk of Firefly and Dollhouse fame and Dale is Tyler Labine who I know from A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (another very funny movie) and a small part in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  These two make the perfect backwoods companions: they look like what the college kids first imagined them to be but they've both got hearts of gold.

There are a couple of instances early on where you get the feel for how funny these two are going to be.  First when Dale, pressured by Tucker to try a move on the pretty college girl Allison (Katrina Bowden from 30 Rock), scares the crap out of her and her friends.  Turns out laughing creepily whilst holding a scythe is not actually a hit with the ladies.  Then shortly after in their truck when they pop open some beers and Tucker spills his.  In an attempt to help him clean it up Dale leans over- face in lap style- shortly before a cop pulls them over. 

At any rate, after the two camps land at their separate vacation destinations (Tucker and Dale at their "fixer upper" cabin and the college kids at a campsite nearby) things settle down- Tucker and Dale explore their new cabin which is decked out with all sorts of horror movie props and the kids listen to their friend tell a scary story (plot point!)  Later that night while fishing Dale and Tucker accidentally see Allison strip down to her scivies for some late night skinny-dipping.  Upon seeing them she screams, falls off the rock she was climbing down, bangs her head and is knocked out.  Dale jumps in to rescue her and the two take her back to the cabin to nurse her back to health.

Thinking she's been kidnapped, Allison's friends set out to find her and come upon the cabin.  It's then that a series of accidents end in the college kids getting killed in increasingly hysterical ways.  One sequence in particular had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.  Completely bewildered, Dale and Tucker conclude that it must be some sort-of suicide pact.
Damn, there goes your deposit!

Things escalate thanks to one particular kid, Chad, who has a vested interest in the history of this place and leads his dumb friends on a quest for revenge against Tucker and Dale.  Chad is a sick and twisted guy and despite Allison's attempt to practice the tools she's learned in her undergrad psych classes things come to a head.  

In addition to employing a long list of cheesy horror movie tropes and making fun of them, this movie relies on site gags, awkward conversations, and sheer stupidity to make the story work.  But work it does and you end up laughing pretty consistently throughout.  Like I said, I've never laughed this hard at a horror movie in my life and because of that (and the fact that it's not really scary) I have a hard time classifying it as a horror movie.  There's a psycho killer, there's tons of blood and gore and there's definitely a threat to our MCs but the overall feeling you get is that this is just a damned funny movie that's set in a horror movie.  I can't recommend it highly enough.


  1. I saw this movie recently, and I LOVED it! It's great when a movie can make me laugh like that.

  2. Aloha,

    And I hadn't even heard of this movie - thanks for the heads up :)

  3. I thought this movie was hilarious! It turned the horror genre on its ear. And at the heart of it was a romance. Completely unique!

  4. So what I'm getting out of this is: The college kids are scared of hicks. The hicks are scared of people who don't know the first thing about power tools.

    Works for me.

  5. It was an unexpected movie. I loved it also. So funny!

  6. Alan Tudyk was really cute in this, and I loved the doubling down on schadenfreude on the victims by also making them, essentially, the antagonists on our poor renovating rednecks.

  7. I love funny but am suuuper squeamish about horror. And, hey, I just figured out the play in the title of your blog. Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.

    I love reading movie reviews by people who don't do it for a living. Hope you'll find more films worth your while to write about.


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