Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Review : Tucker 'n' Dale VS Evil (2010)


"Well, it was really dark, but it looked like one of the guys was....eating her face off..."

Ladies and Gentlemen, we're looking at a new cult classic...

Two rednecks are spending their weekend renovating their newly purchased holiday home in the Appalachian Mountain region, when they encounter a bunch of seriously judgemental, spoiled college kids, who mistakenly believe that they are bloodthirsty backwoods killers and have kidnapped one of their friends.. Mayhem, violence and hilarity ensues.

The concept of TUCKER N DALE is so simple, so obvious, and so damn funny, that its both unthinkable and inevitable that its never been pulled off before. A million comedy writers must be slapping themselves upside the head on the release of this baby. That's not to say its an mindless film, its quite the opposite. Its smart, engaging, and from the first moments it raises genuine chuckles constantly. Its actually a very clever movie, but like all great idea's, this one comes from a place of simplicity. Its how writer/director Eli Craig and his writing partner Morgan Jurgenson tackle the subject and the situation that is so clearly genius. No stone is left unturned here, and the more you ponder the countless moments of high comedy after watching, the funnier they become. And trust me, they're funny to start with.

Take the 'Backwoods Slasher' genre, replete with scary rundown cabin, filthy unknowable rednecks, vicious death scenes and general inbred mayhem targeted at good looking, asshole college types, then turn the whole damn thing on its head. The rednecks here are about as lovable as characters come, and find the college kids every bit as threatening and dangerous as they're assuming Tucker and Dale to be. And the kids, having seen DELIVERANCE and far too many WRONG TURN movies, AND having a very narrow (shallow) worldview and ignorant perception of their forest dwelling fellow humans, are frantic with fear. And its through this fear and willingness to accept the stereotype, ( that all rednecks are inbred, cannibal pig fuckers, for example), that the little bastards bring a whole shitload of pain down on themselves. Comedies focused on misunderstandings are ten a penny, but to see one written, performed and directed so fluently in OUR GENRE is a breath of sweet backwoods air, friendo's. Every Horror fan with a lightness of heart and a sense of humor about themselves and the genre should check this one out, quick sharp.

From the first time we're introduced to our two sets of characters, you'll see exactly where this is going, and its in the expectation just as much as the payoffs that this little gem elicits so much hilarity. The simple turnaround of viewpoints carries the entire movie, yet it wouldn't work were it not for a number of pinpoint accurate performances to hold the madness and bloodshed together. Tuck and Dale are immediately endearing characters. Two simple souls who just wanna enjoy some fishing and few beers, Tucker is the older brother figure, a positive thinking guy with a heart of gold, who wants only the best for his good buddy, Dale. Dale, is an adult child, a down on his confidence guy, who never gets the girl, and needs to learn to love himself a little better. Both parts are played to perfection by the ever brilliant Tudyk (Tucker), and Labine (Dale), who bring just the right amount of humanity and pathos to their roles to make the whole things just as emotionally satisfying as it is hilarious. They have a chemistry that is very rare, and is easily comparable to that of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. These guys FEEL like friends, and the love they have for each other shines through in every scene. Not one line uttered by these guys is wasted. They're the best mates you never had.

The college kids who enter their property and bring hell with them are, on the other hand, a perfect representations of every stereotype in the knife fodder pantheon. The college kids are, for the most part, as vacuous and self centred as they always are in these films, and every cliche is in its rightful place, from token black guy to pretty and sensitive (final) girl, played adorably by Katrina Bowden. They all play they're roles well, but the standout is definitely Jesse Moss, as Chad. You know this guy, you knew this guy at school and you knew this guy in college. And this guy is a DICK! He obviously comes from money, is a borderline sociopath with delusions of grandeur, and is about as hateful as these genre types come. I wanna say I loved him in the film, but I fucking HATED him, and that tells me he done his job brilliantly. If there is any evil to be found here, it comes from this hateful little shit. Your with our backwoods brohiems all the way, in this bloody and epic battle of miscommunication.

And it is bloody. The film is full of slicing and dicing, body parts and grue; yet you'll only ever be wincing through laughter, as the death scenes are both satisfying and absolutely pant wettingly funny. One scene which features Tucker, a chainsaw, a wasps nest and a nervous, redneck intolerant 'victim', had me in tears, (best Leatherface reference EVER!). And it wasn't a one off. The film really is a great time and is full of non stop situational comedy that hits all the right marks and pushes the story forward. I wont give away any jokes or death scenes, but expect all the mainstays of 'Backwoods Horror' to be dissected with glee, and in the most brilliantly witty ways.

I mentioned way back that we're looking at a new cult classic, and I have no doubt whatsoever of it. But I'm not too sure it should be that way. The thing is, this film ought be getting wide notice. It deserves all the love and attention in the world, and should be rightly claiming its place among the very best of the 'Horror Comedy' sub-genre. Its drinking Coors in a boat, with SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, and EVIL DEAD 2, as one of the few truly successful comedies within the horror universe. Like those movies, TUCKER N DALE knows and loves its audience, has a firm grasp on what makes its influences what they are, and has no fear of sending up any and all tropes of its chosen archetype. The reason it gets away with its many many jabs is because its clear from the very start that there is massive affection for the films it rips into, and massive affection for its central characters. This is deconstruction without the pretense, its not concerned with resonance or intellect, (although they are there if you want to find them, thoughts on the nature of evil and intolerance abound). Its concerned with showing the audience a fucking good time, providing them with laughs, thrills and genuine moments of heart, all while giving a knowing nod to those who understand the genre.

Maybe that's why TUCKER N DALE may never truly receive the applause it deserves. It really is a love letter to the fans, and its humor may go over the heads of those who don't have any insight into the films its playing with. It may be that this one belongs solely to the people it was made for, us guys.The guys and gal's who live and breathe Horror. And you know what, I'm cool with that, too. Some things are perhaps too precious to share with the world entire.

10 Lovely Rednecks out of 10 


  1. Great review, Kyle. This looks like a super flick! Thanks for spreading the word.


  2. Awesome review, Kyle it does seem like look like it's be an awesome movie! I especially like the gore. I've been hearing great things about it!

  3. Cheers guys. Im sure you'll both love it. It pretty damned heartwarming, and very funny. Ive been forcing all my buds to watch it, and the consensus is that its 'FUCKIN MEGA!!' as we say around my way ;)

  4. dude I loved this movie...Its up in may super favorites now. I about pissed myself, during the wood chipper scene,laughing so hard.

  5. lmfao...the look on Tuckers face in that scene....brilliance. Im with you, its my super faves now too!