Director – Eli Craig
Cast – Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne, Joseph Allan Sutherland, Karen Reigh
Release Year – 2011
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a film I had never heard of before coming across and opportunity to give this one a watch, and after seeing the film’s awesome poster and knowing it dealt with hillbillies this was one film I was truly stoked to view. It has been a long time since a horror film has made me laugh as hard as this one did, and that comes as a result of great writing, acting, and good overall direction. Tucker & Dale vs Evil has still to receive the proper DVD release that it deserves, but that by no means reflects on this film’s quality or end result, which left me a very happy “camper”.
Tucker & Dale are your usual hillbillies, riding around in their old pickup truck drinking beer, fishing while drinking beer, and looking for any quick fix way to improve their lives(no offense, hillbillies). When they purchase a fixer-upper cabin on a mountaintop to serve as their summer vacation home, they see this opportunity as a big step in making their lives as comfortable as possible, but all of that changes when they save a young college girl from drowning in a lake she was skinny-dipping in. Their king gesture goes unnoticed to her group of college friends who assume that she has been kidnapped by the “psycho hillbillies” Tucker & Dale, and they lead a hilarious all-out assault on the beer-guzzling nitwits to get their safe, sound, and appreciative friend back, with gory and deadly results.
The moment I came across the film’s plow I knew this was a film I HAD to see. Time and time again we are given films with hillbillies/hicks serving as backwoods murderers who hack up young unsuspecting city-folk teens/adults who were way over their heads heading into the woods in the first place, but this film gives us another take on that by serving up the hillbillies as kind and misunderstood with the college outsiders being the ignorant murderous fools in this one. Personally, I loved this idea and it played a big part in my enjoyment of this hilarious watch. I knew I was getting myself into a horror/comedy, but I had no idea that it would be as funny as it was. Most of the humor comes from our bumbling hillbillies, especially Dale, as they find themselves in insane situations and somehow find a way to say something ridiculously funny in each one. The story paces very well, with constant developments and good laughs spaced at all the appropriate spots to make this 89 minute film flow smoothly and never lose steam. The one BIG surprise that caught me off guard in this film is the fact that we really did not get a lot of “horror” thrown in. During the opening sequence we are exposed to what seemed to be a prelude to the horror that would later ensue, but things never headed that direction and instead the horror we were given came at the hands of the college students. I did not personally mind this because the subject matter and execution made me love this film regardless, but it would have been nice if there was some sort of horrific element thrown in. Simply put, unless you find the college students scary or see their ignorance as horror, this is pretty much just a gory comedy, and I did not mind it one bit.
Co-writer Eli Craig served as this film’s director, and he did a favorable job despite this being his only full-length directing credit. His execution is fun, and he employs great sets and landscape to add to that, which also aided in proving a somewhat creepy “backwoods” atmosphere at times. He gets great performances from Tyler Labine as Dale and Alan Tudyk(Dodgeball) as Tucker, who were expertly used to deliver great laughs and insane antics throughout. I was not completely sold on the performances from the snotty college kids, but they really did not matter much to me and only served as potential victims, which they were pretty darn good at. Craig threw in good live-action gore here and there and only seemed to use CGI when it was absolutely called for, a forgivable sin for a low-budget film like this one. The kills were well-executed and aside from the gore were of hilarious nature as well, making this simple film one that comes with lots of original elements and a solid good time for those looking for a new and enjoyable horror film.
Overall, Tucker & Dale vs Evil is an awesome horror/comedy that I recommend to all horror fans looking for great gore, good laughs, and an overall fun experience that would be perfect if enjoyed with friends, food, and alcohol. The film is a simple one, but that did little to keep this from being an original film in its own right, and a darn good horror film as well. Highly recommended.