Tucker & Dale Vs Evil Movie Review
Written by James Ferguson
DVD released by Magnet Releasing
Directed by Eli Craig
Written by Eli Craig & Morgan Jurgenson
2011, 89 Minutes, Rated R
Premiering on VOD August 26th, 2011 and in Theaters September 30th, 2011
Tyler Labine as Dale
Alan Tudyk as Tucker
Katrina Bowden as Allison
Jesse Moss as Chad
Philip Granger as Sheriff
A case of mistaken identity has been a fun premise for films for years. Few are thinly veiled stories of tolerance, though, and even fewer are filled with intensely gory kills. This is the path that Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil has chosen to blaze. Two hillbillies are thought to be serial killers by a group of stereotypical college co-eds out on a camping trip. In an effort to avoid Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), the kids end up killing themselves in increasingly hilarious ways. Meanwhile, the pair of rednecks think that some sort of suicide cult has come to town.
The college kids are right out of every other teen slasher movie you've seen. The filmmakers realize this and poke fun at it. There's actually a scene where one of them runs up to the group and exclaims "Hey! There's a lake back there! Who wants to go skinny dipping?" It's this characterization that makes it all the more satisfying when they start running themselves through with sticks or jumping head-first into a wood chipper.
While the two groups face off in an ever-escalating level of violence, the movie has a constant thread of tolerance that keeps popping up. It's made very clear that Tucker and Dale are genuine nice guys who are just out in the woods to fix up a vacation home that one of them has purchased. The college kids see their rough exteriors and instantly make them out to be idiot hillbillies. If they had taken a moment to get to know the pair, all of this would have been avoided.
This is a great set up for a comedy and the twist that occurs before the final act — albeit a completely obvious one from the start — makes it a satisfying horror movie. Unfortunately, the film bounces between the genres a bit and can't decide if it is a comedy with horror elements or a horror movie with comedic elements. If it would have stuck to one or the other, Tucker & Dale would have been a much stronger film.
That is not to say that I didn't enjoy the movie. Tucker & Dale is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine constantly fight for the top spot on the comedy mountain, but Labine edges out his opponent slightly. His delivery is always spot on and he takes every opportunity to crack a joke, however subtle as the unlikely hero.
The aforementioned twist is set up with a very brief scene at the beginning of the movie. It's one of those set-ups that instantly says "Three Days Earlier" right after it ends, so you have an idea of where the film will end up, but not how it gets there. I understand the reasoning for it, but it makes a majority of the film feel too predictable. That scene would have worked much better at the very end of the movie, perhaps after the first few credits have rolled.
Tucker & Dale Vs Evil is an incredibly funny movie with some very bloody death scenes. The gore is done very well and isn't some ugly CGI. It's a unique spin on the teen slasher movie. I'm honestly not sure how Magnet is going to market this, considering it has a foot firmly planted in both the horror genre and the comedy genre. One thing is for sure though, if you're at all interested in this, avoid the trailers that are already out there. They give away a lot of plot details, leaving little for the film to actually show you.