Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
directed by Eli Craig
starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
Mix a van full of horny teens and a pair of hillbillies renovating a cabin, and what do you expect? A love story with a happy ending? Could happen, both Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are really kind-hearted guys and the college preps are shallow, racist jerks with the survival skills of a Rocky Mountain oyster. Heck, some don’t even get on screen names — I’m talking about the mooks Mitchell Verigin as “College Kid #1” and Angela De Corte as “College Kid #2.” Ok, they picked up some beer, some weed, and a pack of Lacoste polo shirts, so you know a make-out session is a one way ticket to the morgue, but it’s not Tucker and Dale that dust up the gene pool. As Tucker says to the soon-to-die police officer (Philip Granger), “There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property.” Punks. All this bloodshed begins when lithe Allison (Katrina Bowden) strips down and jumps into a shallow lake and doesn’t come up very quickly. The boys rescue her, and her friends successfully misinterpret everything for the next hour until only Allison, Tucker, and Dale are left standing.
Along the way, every sight gag from the spam-in-a-cabin genre get turned on its head — people impale themselves on trees, burst into flame, chainsaw bees’ nests, and forget you’re supposed to point the gun at the person they want dead, not yourself. Casting and writing are tight with clearly delineated (if not always clearly identified) characters. Chad (Jesse Moss) is the leader of the jerks — he has a past and isn’t as pure-bred Winter Park as he thinks. Chloe (Chelan Simmons) plays the eye candy — her lines are minimal but her cleavage is maximal. The effects are cheesy but effective and everything is played for laughs; even when there is a weedwacker facial, your groans are mixed with snickers. Allison falls for Dale, Dale falls for Allison, and even though they are tax brackets apart they find common ground in “Trivial Pursuit” and bowling. While she ought to be emotionally scarred for life after watching her friends wipe themselves out, the tonic of true love saves her and you’ll think “Wall Street will be a better place without these quiche eaters.”
The frights (such as they are) come from the rabid logic of youth acting out a mixture of racist fantasy and Hollywood fear mongering. If there’s a bad interpretation, the college crew makes it. If there’s a wrong way for a tree to fall, it lands on Tucker or Dale. But you have to love them — they know what they are and Dale gives fair warning: “I should have known if a guy like me talked to a girl like you, somebody would end up dead.” Gory, funny and smart, this is a thinking man’s horror film.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: www.magnetreleasing.com/tuckeranddalevsevil