Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie – Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)

You know the drill: a bunch of college students decide to go camping in the woods.  They stop for supplies and meet two scary looking hillbillies.  A nubile coed catches their eye and they cast unsavory looks at her.  The students continue to their camp site where they encounter the hillbillies again.  Carnage and chaos ensue.  Don’t be so fast to judge, though.  Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the story from the hillbillies’ perspective?”  Maybe, just maybe, they are innocent creatures in the wild who are more scared of the students than the students are of them.  What if they are just innocent victims of profiling?

Meet Tucker and Dale, two good friends who have just bought a “vacation home” on a lake.   Dale (Tyler Labine) is very shy and nervous around women.  Tucker (Alan Tudyk) tries to encourage him to try new things.  He tells Dale that he can impress women by telling them he has a vacation home, and that he should be friendly by laughing a lot.  When Dale sees Allison (Katrina Bowden), one of the college students, at a store he tries to take Tucker’s advice.  He walks over, but can only muster some nervous laughter.  Allison and the other students react badly.  Maybe that’s due to the scythe that Dale was going to load into the back of his truck and that he is still carrying.

Tucker and Dale continue to their cabin on a lake.  The term “fixer upper” would be a very generous description of the place, but their enthusiasm is undiminished.  With some hard work they figure they’ll have the place looking great.  Meanwhile, guess who has camped nearby?  That’s right: the college students. 

The leader of the group of nine, Chad (Jesse Moss) tells them a scary, mostly true story about hillbillies attacking a group of students 20 years ago not far from where they are now.  You can tell that Chad has a big distrust of hillbillies that borders on hatred.  We later learn why.

The students decide to go skinny dipping.  Guess who’s out doing some fishing?  Tucker and Dale startle Allison while she’s disrobing and she falls and hits her head.  Dale dives in and saves her from drowning.  Tucker yells out to the other students that he’s got their friend, expecting them to come get her, but they all run off in fright.  Puzzled, Tucker and Dale decide to take Allison back to their cabin and tend to her injury.  When she wakes up she is scared, but soon realizes that Dale is a just a big teddy bear.

The students decide to spy on Tucker and Dale.  One goes on ahead and sees Tucker sawing some wood with a chainsaw.  As luck would have it, Tucker saws through a beehive.  He wildly swings the chainsaw around to try to fight them off, scaring the crap out of the hiding student.  Tucker finally decides to run…right at the hidden student.  The student takes off and both he and Tucker, still holding the running chainsaw, run through the woods.  Something bad happens to the student (I won’t spoil it, but it is very funny in a twisted way.)

The other students find their friend and Chad convinces the rest “it’s us or them”.  They’ve got to take these hillbillies out and get Allison back from them.  When they get back to the cabin Allison is digging a hole, which they assume is for her grave (it’s for an outhouse and she’s doing it to help out Dale), and Tucker is now running some of the wood he cut through a chipper.  Yes, it does play a part in the demise of another student.  Tucker and Dale come to the only logical conclusion: these students have come out into the woods as part of a suicide pact.  Tucker and Dale figure they can’t go to the cops, though, because who would believe that the hillbillies were innocent bystanders when their wood chipper is all covered in blood?

In the meantime Chad’s not done stirring up what’s left of the students to take his revenge.  Tucker and Dale are going to have a lot more evil coming their way.  Are they hillbilly enough to stand up to it?

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a refreshing and funny take on the clichéd plot of students in the woods being killed one by one.  You can always count on the versatile Alan Tudyk (Serenity, Death at a Funeral, Dodgeball) for performances both comedic and dramatic.  I was not familiar with Tyler Labine before seeing this movie, but he does a good job of playing the shy, sweet, nervous guy.  Anyone who’s ever tried to approach a girl he thinks is out of his league will probably identify with him.

While being very funny, this is still a horror movie.  There are some gruesome deaths in this movie, completely in keeping with the genre.  Many of the scenes are played for twisted humor, though.  If you are a fan of the horror genre then you should definitely see this movie.  If you don’t tend to like horror, but this film sounds interesting, then I recommend you give it a try.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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  1. Sounds fun. I will look it up.

    1. Thanks. Please let me know what you thought of it.

  2. I loved that movie - very clever and hilarious. I felt as it moved towards cliches in its second part but it was still very refreshing and fun to watch.

    1. Yes, there's a fine line between showing a cliche to make fun of it, and just being a cliche in the first place. I watched it mostly because I've usually always seen good things from Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity, Death at a Funeral, etc.) and I ended up liking the movie as a whole.