I actually had the pleasure of seeing this movie in a small, independent theater in Los Angeles alongside the director and some of the stars. Apparently it was having a difficult time finding a distributor for its DVD release here in the US. I remember sitting in the theater watching the movie with two of my besties (Casey Jones and Bobbi Panerio) and loving the crap out of this movie. Getting to sit through a Q&A with the talent behind it all was just the icing on the cake. So imagine my delight when this holiday season I cranked up the ol’ Netflix machine and saw that not only had it found a distributor, but was actually streaming online! So now I’m writing this review to promote TADvE awareness, and tell you about the awesomeness of this flick.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil is my favorite kind of movie: the horror comedy. I may have an unhealthy obsession with the genre as evidenced here, here, and here. And here. T&D takes the familiar and conventional horror trope “college kids meet murderous rednecks camping in the woods,” and spin it on its decapitated head. Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are two gentle, backwoods good ol’ boys (rednecks) who have just purchased their first fixer-upper vacation home (scary cabin). On their way to a relaxing weekend of fishing and home improvement, they have a run in at the local gas station with the not-so-heroic frat boys (douche bags) and their scantily clad companions (whores).
You instantly fall in love with these good natured bumpkins who want nothing more than to drink some beers, fish in the river, and enjoy their newly purchased weekend cottage. Unbeknownst to the lovable protagonists, the holiday shack used to be home to some sort of actual crazed lunatic, presumably long gone, although he left plenty of scattered bones and sinister news-clippings pinned to the walls. While Tucker is the brains of their operation, it’s Dale who really steals the scenes in this movie. He looks like the kind of guy whose parents might have been related even before they were married, but brings an innocence and sincerity to the screen that you can’t help but enjoy.
The college kids, meanwhile, are busy swapping horror stories and VD off in the woods somewhere. Through a series of unfortunate (and hilarious) misunderstandings, the sexy teens decide that Tucker and Dale are mass murdering hillbillies who have kidnapped their friend. Chad, the leader of the group by virtue of having the most fratastic name of all time, decides that they need to take the offensive. This ends poorly.
I really cannot say enough good things about this movie, Dale in particular. It moves a little slow through the first half, but some well timed comedy and character development will still keep you entertained. The writing was good, the acting was excellent, and it boasts a splatter score that will keep horror enthusiasts extremely satisfied. While not redefining any particular genre or breaking new cinematic ground, it was an original concept and well executed (pun intended). I found myself both laughing and gasping throughout, and it was topped with a decently thrilling conclusion. Satisfying on all counts.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!