TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I can’t exactly say that horror comedies are anything new. They have certainly been around for a long time, but they seem to be all the rage now. I think a lot of this is due to the accessibility of the medium to smaller budgeted independent filmmakers. And while some of these stabs at the comedy end of the horror genre haven’t come close to hitting a vital organ, “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is pretty damn close to the mark.
The story sets itself up rather purposefully like a cliched horror film. A group of preppy college students head out on a camping trip in the woods where a crazy killer had once chopped up his victims. On the way, they think they’re being hunted by two crazy in-bred rednecks. Of course, the real truth is that these two rednecks are simply trying to spend a quiet weekend in the woods at their new cabin.
Using a lot of misunderstanding humor similar to “Three’s Company” without the sex jokes, and playing off of common horror standards, “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is a lot of fun and quite funny at times. It’s clearly made with a lot of love for the genre, evidence by the fact that so many of these horror film cliches are used as strong gags. Even this year, with theatrical films like “Creature” and “Shark Night,” these cliches were seen in a more serious, or at least in an attempted plot-driven, context.
The charm of this movie comes from its stars Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, both of whom embody the loveable redneck perfectly. Particularly Labine, who becomes the unlikely leading man, gets a chance to shine in a very likeable role.
I doubt that anyone who isn’t well familiar with slasher movie tropes will completely understand all the jokes in “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” but they should at least get a couple laughs out of it. My only real complaint with the film is that for all the horror movie standards skewered in this piece, they could have thrown in a little more gratuitous nudity.
The DVD comes with a nice collection of special features, including a making-of featurette, outtakes, storyboards, commentary track, the theatrical trailer and an HDNet spot. Though the best feature on the whole disc is the abridged version of the film, dubbed “Tucker & Dale ARE Evil.” This edit of the film shows the movie completely from the college kids’ perspective to show how the misunderstandings actually happened.