Review: Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (Sundance)
PLOT: Two hillbillies (Alan Tudyk & Tyler Labine) are mistaken for mass-murderers by a group of randy college kids.
REVIEW: TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL was a nice change of pace from some of the heavier films I've seen at Sundance so far. It`s a goofy but incredibly fun comedy that spoofs classic killer hillbilly movies like DELIVERANCE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, etc. The twist here is that the hillbillies in question are not psychotic, but are actually fairly warmhearted guys. They are simply the victims of circumstance.
The trouble starts for Tucker and Dale when they decide to take off for a fishing trip at a remote cabin Tucker`s just bought, with the dream of turning it into a vacation home. While gassing up, they run afoul of carload of horny college kids- who, having seen their share killer hillbilly films, assume Tucker & Dale are psychos, particularly after the big-hearted, clumsy Dale tries to sweet-talk Allison (Katrina Bowden, Tina Fey`s smokin` secretary from 30 ROCK). Later on, while fishing, they spy Allison skinny dipping. When she almost drowns, they rescue her and take her back to their cabin- but to the kids, it looks like they've abducted her.
The clumsy gang, led by the psychotic and asthmatic Chad (Jesse Moss) try to rescue Allison, but they're so clumsy, they end up accidentally offing themselves in particularly gruesome ways (one takes a swan dive into a wood chipper). This leads Tucker & Dale to think they're being stalked by a suicide cult!
TUCKER & DALE, from first time director Eli Craig, really pulls off the comedy/ horror mix, although this probably leans more toward the comedy side of the equation. Helping things immensely is the fact that his two leads are perfectly cast. Anyone who`s ever watched FIREFLY will recognize Alan Tudyk, and he's a hoot as the Pabst Blue Ribbon swillin` Tucker, who`s like the Simon Pegg to Tyler Labine`s Nick Frost. He`s the more pragmatic, sharper witted of the two, while Labine is the more oafish, big-hearted one.
Labine was one of the stars of the TV show "Reaper," which I've heard nothing but good things about, but have yet to check out. He`s really great as the flabby, thick-headed Dale. Labine`s so damn likable, that toward the end, you even start to buy him as a potential love interest for Bowden, who`s the only member of her clique smart enough to realize Tucker & Dale aren't the psychos everyone thinks they are.
This truly is a horror comedy that works, and also provides loads of gore for horror fans (although some of the CGI gore in one scene was a bit dodgy). While it`s probably a somewhat low-budget film, it`s well shot and perfectly paced, with the film running a lean ninety minutes, never letting the joke get old. Hopefully, it'll get some kind of theatrical release before inevitably hitting DVD, as this is they type of film that really needs to be seen with an audience to be appreciated. Most of the journalists I saw this with at the press screening where howling with laughter throughout, which is unusual, as the press audiences tend to be somewhat reserved.
TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL was truly a fun filled flick, and definitely one that will be appreciated by any horror aficionado, who'll likely get a lot of laughs from the numerous horror clichés that are sent up here. Hopefully, the film will do well enough to merit another TUCKER & DALE film, as I`d love to see these two paired up again.