Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil * * *

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Director: Eli Craig.
Screenplay: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson.
Starring: Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Chelan Simmons, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Alex Arsenault, Travis Nelson, Karen Reigh.

Sometimes a film comes along that although completely preposterous and silly, it still possesses a certain charm. I grew up watching the likes of Bill & Ted and to this day, find them quite appealing. This first feature film from director Eli Craig isn’t far from that same brand of idiotic humour.

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are two gentle and likeable hillbillies who have purchased their own “fixer-upper” holiday home in West Virginia. With the beer and fishing gear packed they head there to relax and enjoy their new surroundings. On the way though, they encounter a group of spoiled college kids who judge Tucker and Dale on their rough exteriors. What ensues after that becomes bloody and messy and it’s not at the hands of the likeable duo.

On occasion, while commenting on films, you can find yourself being overly critical because it’s not normally the type of material that you’re interested in. When doing this, it can often be overlooked how well the film is actually structured or shot. I tried to be aware of this when I sat down to Tucker and Dale. Despite being a fan of Bill & Ted, I now think of myself a little too old to enjoy similar types of films anymore. Any that I do still enjoy, I put down to nostalgia. Of course, this is complete nonsense and now and again I should let myself loose a little and drop the critical barriers, so to speak. Well, in some ways, I did with this. I can obviously see it’s ridiculous premise and nature but there’s no denying that it’s actually rather fun and deserves recognition for putting a fresh spin on the usual horror conventions – the hillbillies are good, being hunted by bad college students. It’s a very appealing horror parody and is served well by two endearing leads in Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk (in roles originally intended for Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper before hitting the heights of “The Hangover“). They share a similar comradery to the aforementioned excellent dudes, Bill S. Preston esquire and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan and without their appeal, this film just wouldn’t work anywhere near as well as it does. I had admiration for the director and actors working on it’s tight budget and even the effective comedy of error moments. However, at a short running time, I still found it to overstay it’s welcome and towards the end, it became the very type of film it was sending up. Although the brand of humour isn’t entirely to my tastes, there will be an audience out there that this will most certainly appeal to. I don’t happen to belong to that audience but I can still appreciate the effort and talent involved. Not to mention, some good humour.

This was a film that didn’t receive much marketing and as a result featured in very few cinemas. It did, however, please audiences across the board at several film festival screenings and is no doubt a cult classic waiting to happen. Think Bill & Ted dicing with the Evil Dead and you pretty much get the drift of this one.

Mark Walker

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20 Responses to “Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil * * *”

  1. I tried watching this a while back and decided I wasn’t in the right mood for it. I’d like to give it another go because people really seem to like it. Bill and Ted + Evil Dead is a winning combination in my book!

    • I was the same Andy. I turned it off first time and went back to it later. It’s decent enough and it will definitely find a group of fans. Not exactly my bag but I could see the appeal.

  2. :D I enjoyed reading you go through the process of mentally forgiving yourself as a critic for liking this film, Mark. LOL

    It’s a fun flick man, it doesn’t try to be too much, and its funny and original (or fresh at least) and is enjoying to watch. It’s not going to win any awards from anyone, but it doesnt have to. I liked this one quite a bit!

    • Haha! Cheers Fogs. I did feel a little guilty for finding enjoyment here ;-)

      It is what is though and doesn’t pretend be anything other than a bit of fun. I definitely think it’ll become a cult classic some day. It’s certainly got that appeal.

  3. I missed this at the local film fest last year! I like Alan Tudyk, but this might be too gory for my taste though.

    • Yeah, I think Tudyk and Labine could build a bigger name for themselves on the back of this. I wouldn’t worry about the gore too much Ruth. It does have some but it’s done with a sense of humour.

  4. I originally didn’t watch it because I don’t like horrors until a friend of mine insisted I’d watch it and I’m glad I did! It was very funny and one I would recommend. It is a bit gory, but because it is in a comedy setting I wasn’t really grossed out by it.

    • Absolutely Nostra. I just said the same to Ruth there. It’s got a good sense of humour and it’s normally a film I would have avoided myself. I wouldn’t rave over it but I did quite like it.

  5. I didn’t find the combination of horror and comedy worked throughout, but overall i found it interesting enough

  6. This isn’t my cup of tea but maybe I should follow your advice and “drop the critical barriers”.

    • Not really my cup of tea either Fernando but it’s a bit of fun that works fairly well. I wouldn’t overly recommend it but it will suit some people’s tastes.

  7. I love this movie. And I love Alan Tudyk. :) I thought it was a fun spin on the usual redneck/hillbilly theme and thought the gore was just right. I can absolutely see where it’s not for everybody though. Excellent review!

    • Cheers Misty. Yeah, it’s a decent little film. Had I been more into these type of comedies, I’d have enjoyed it even more. It’s well made and a real surprise. It might just grow on me as time goes on also.

  8. Despite the fact that I love movies (of all genres) there are quite a few that I watch – particularly for my column – because I feel I should; because it’s expected of me. Then there are some that I watch purely for the joy of it. This fell into the second category for me. While the critic in me acknowledges its genre conventions and underwritten supporting characters, the kid in me tells the critic in me to shut the hell up and have another beer. Likable leads, a funny script and buckets of good, old-fashioned blood and guts; happy happy joy joy. :)

    • You just encompassed it far more eloquently than me sir. I share you’re feelings on it. I couldn’t quite get over the tosh of it but it was certainly good tosh.

  9. I loved this movie without a critical thought in my head; then again, my taste in film is egalitarian at best and terrible at worst. Nevertheless, Tucker and Dale were endearing characters and a steady diet of slasher flicks and dark comedy fully prepared me for this film; in particular, I’m thinking of this scene where one of the young people flings himself headlong into a woodchipper. Nice review.

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