Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Tucker & Dale vs Evil

Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden
Certificate: 15
Running Time: 89 minutes
Release Date: 23 September  2011

Tucker & Dale vs Evil begins with a typical horror cliché; a group of teenagers heading out to the wilderness for fun and frolics, only to be seemingly followed and terrorised by a pair of hillbillies. There are subtle nods to successful similar titles such as Deliverance, Wrong Turn and even Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you’d be forgiven for believing that you’ve seen and heard all of this before, but you’d be mistaken. Instead, this production takes everything that you think you know about this sub-genre of movies and flips it completely on its head.

Alternatively, the two hillbillies in question, Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) are actually the innocent victims this time. They plan to visit their newly acquired vacation home in the sticks that requires some fixing, and whilst there, kick back and drink a few beers and do some fishing. On their way to the cabin, they stop at a backwoods gas station and happen across the teens who automatically mistake the pair for your garden variety psychos.

When Tucker and Dale partake in some night fishing, they see one of the girls, Allison (Bowden) fall into the water after banging her head and rescue her from drowning, taking her back to their cabin to recover. The teens, of course, only see the two protagonists row away with their unconscious friend in their boat and jump to the conclusion that they have kidnapped her. What follows is a series of misconceptions and misunderstandings that lead to the deaths of the teens one by one. Obviously, as each teen dies, the remaining survivors think that it is the hillbillies offing their friends. Tucker and Dale, meanwhile, start to believe that the teens are part of some suicide pact and try to work out what they can do. Gore-hounds will be more than satisfied with the amount of blood and guts on show, but it never seems too gratuitous, or appears to get in the way of the rest of the story. There is a sweet little romantic sub-plot involving Dale and Allison, but it is kept just the right side of sickly sweet.

A final showdown ensues and involves a little bit of juxtaposition that partly explains the actions of one of the characters, but not too much as to ruin the light-hearted tone of the rest of the movie. On the downside, there is a totally unnecessary opening scene that gives much of the story to come away. However, as a horror comedy, it is a fun way to spend an hour and a half, although not quite in the same league as Shaun of the Dead.  It’s hard to see why this title took nearly three years to find distribution.

7/10

JD GILLAM

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