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Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil Review

Looking at the best horror spoofs and satires of the past 10 years (and no
i don’t just mean the “Scream” franchise), the likes of Slither, Behind the Mask: The
Rise of
Leslie Vernon and Severance have carved out – often literally
– a unique niche. What these dark comedies have in common is that they embrace
and simultaneously skewer a genre in a way that is accessible to even those
beyond the fanboy realm.

Though the title evokes a direct-to-DVD-quality clunker about a couple of
stoners battling a creature from another dimension (or something of the like), sometimes the old adage is true: you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or
in this case a film by its title. I thought much the same about “Tucker and Dale” when
it first came to my attention, that is until an onslaught of glowing early
reviews came pouring in and my interest was piqued. As a huge fan of fright
flicks in general and perhaps even more so the ones that lampoon them, I found
loads to love in this gory, infinitely clever and wonderfully acted spin on the
slasher brand.

Beginning as commonly as any scare fest (or any genre film for that matter),
a group of college students venture into the woods for a weekend of wild times,
booze, babes and bongs. On the way, they pass by two hillbillies, Tucker (Alan
Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), who they immediately peg as two deranged local
yokels. In actuality, the two best buds are on the way to their newly purchased
cabin out in the forest, poised for a few weeks of much needed rest. Back to
the students, a night of skinny dipping leads one member (a beautiful young
lady named Allison) to hit her head on a rock. Rescued by Tucker and Dale and
taken to their aforementioned abode, her friends instead believe she has been kidnapped
and a series of bloody misunderstandings and blackly comedic happenstance

Most spoofs stay roughly in the confines of the standard template, while
tossing in self-referential humor and blasting clichéd conventions. “Tucker and
Dale” completely reworks the mold, which makes this a singularly unique offering. Again
exceeding expectations, the performances are uniformly fantastic, not only from
the unknown cast of teens. but the leads as well. Tudyk and Labine have a
wonderful bromantic vibe (not to mention being hilarious throughout) and pull
off the ultimately ridiculous premise – teens besieging a bewildered twosome set
on simply enjoying their vacation – to wonderful effect.

Withholding the delightful surprise which was this film as a whole, the
most unexpected instance of originality lay with the relationship between Dale
and Allison. As the bearded local cares for the young lady (with whom he is
obviously smitten), a bafflingly sweet (but never creepy) romance comes forth
and stands as just another layer to this entertaining romp. Wherever you think
“Evil” is headed, it does a 180 and surprises again and again. A well of
ingenuity can often be found in fresh, young talent and this appears to be
true in first-time Canadian director/writer Eli Craig. He clearly has a deep
affinity for the slasher film and passionately constructs a willful
deconstruction while never coming off as mocking of cloying. Even if you are
only vaguely familiar with horror movies, you should still be able to appreciate
what is on display here. Tucker &
Dale Vs. Evil
is one of those gems that seems to slip through the cracks
every year and dares you not to laugh as much as it deserves to be seen.

Rating: 8.0/10

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
Directed by Eli Craig

Written by Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson
Starring Andy Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss  


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