Movie #19: Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Ever since Scream, there’s been almost a sub-class of horror movies that play with the expectations and stereotypes of the genre. Recently I really enjoyed the Joss-Whedon-produced Cabin in the Woods, and Tucker and Dale vs Evil actually has a lot in common with that movie (except in those parts where they are completely opposite). In this movie, a bunch of pretty, young college kids drive up to the woods for a free-spirited camping weekend, partaking in those horror movie cliches such as scary stories around the campfire, skinny-dipping in the lake, etc., but they aren’t the main characters. As the title indicates, the movie’s really about “hillbilly” buddies Tucker (played by Whedon fave Alan Tudyk, in a performance that seems like a total breeze for him) and Dale (always-hilarious Tyler Labine, surprisingly playing the gentle, sensitive guy rather than the smart-mouthed guy that he played in cult-hit TV series Reaper and recently short-lived sitcom Mad Love). Tucker just bought a “fixer-upper” of a cabin in the woods for a vacation home, so they two just want to go up there and clean things up, maybe get in a little fishing. Unfortunately, misunderstandings start early as a tongue-tied Dale tries to approach and chat up super-cutie Allison (Katrina Bowden, who plays Cerie on 30 Rock) at the gas station. Two hillbillies with a dirty old pickup truck babbling and approaching some nubile kids carrying a scythe (for some reason): you can just hear the Deliverance banjo a-playin’ right? Well, things just escalate as more and more coincidences and accidents (approaching Looney Tunes level of believability) make the situation worse and worse for our hapless heroes. Despite over-the-top plot twists (which are relatively predictable), this movie is more about mouth-covering, jump-back-in-the-chair, eye-widening humour. Also, Labine is pretty great as the nice guy you probably wouldn’t want to be left alone with. This movie turns many of the horror tropes on their heads (including the “vs Evil” part that I haven’t really mentioned), and the audience is totally along for the ride, knowing what the truth of the situation is. It’s not a deep film, but it surprisingly makes me wonder if some of cinema’s worst creepy psychos aren’t just terribly misunderstood. (4 out of 5)

19 down, 31 to go!


2 thoughts on “Movie #19: Tucker and Dale vs Evil”

  1. Thanks for the comment, Andrew. To be honest, I was drawn to horror comedy mostly because I was too much of a chicken for serious horror. If I’m going to laugh nervously, I might as well laugh heartily instead, right?

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