With Halloween just around the corner, what better time is there to watch a horror movie? I thought I would take a look back over some of the movies I’ve not seen in some time which deserve a rewatch and catch up on a few I missed along the way. First up is comedy horror Tucker and Dale vs Evil.
Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss
Run Time: 89 Minutes
Release Date: December 2010
The movie tells the tale of Tucker and Dale, Hillbillies heading to the woods to fix up the vacation home they have just bought. Similarly, a group college students are heading out to the same woods on a camping trip, well it wouldn’t be a horror movie without some college kids involved, would it?
As the two groups begin to realise that they are not the only people out there in the wilderness, misunderstandings complicate matters as the college kids come to the conclusion that Tucker and Dale are, “in-bred, chainsaw wielding killers”.
The problems begin as Tucker and Dale are night fishing, unfortunately at the same time when the college kids decide to head to the lake for a skinny-dip. Allison, played by Katrina Bowden (30 Rock), falls into the lake and the only ones that see her are Tucker and Dale. Doing the decent thing, the two step in and save her, pulling her out of the water and into their boat but unfortunately for the hillbillies, her friends catch them in the act and assume that she is being kidnapped, running away in panic.
The next morning Allison wakes up in the vacation cabin scared and bewildered. Dale, played by Tyler Labine (Reaper) tries to explain the situation while at the same time her friends are out searching for the cabin to attempt a rescue.
This is where the hilarity begins, with characters dying in Final Destination-esque fashion. The best deaths all involve Tucker, played by Alan Tudyk (Firefly). One college kid has an unfortunate run-in with a fallen tree while trying to escape from a chainsaw wielding Tucker. One of the other students meets his end when and failed surprise attack sees Tucker ducking out of the way and the college kid diving straight into the wood chipper.
The special effects do vary in quality, the aforementioned wood chipper scene is a great example of when the blood and gore hit the mark, but, on the other hand, a few of the death scenes are poor, seemingly rushed just to get rid of characters that nobody cares about.
With the final showdown centered around two of the male students, both fighting for the love of Alison, the story ends on something of an anti-climax, peaking 15 minutes earlier. There are subplots involving Chad, the most annoying frat boy, which never seem needed and instead just make the movie longer than it ever needs to be.
Tyler Labine is excellent as student Dale, starting out as a bumbling fool but over the course of the movie he develops his character into the hero and saviour of the story. Both Alan Tudyk and Katrina Bowden support Labine well enough to keep the viewer empathetic to Tucker and Dale’s plight against the college kids. Outside of the main characters, the rest of the cast are passable at best but this may be intentional given that you’re likely not to care whether they live or die.
The Director, Eli Craig (Zombieland), adds in plenty of tropes of a traditional horror slasher movie, but with a twist, turning the stereotypical victims, the college kids, into the bad guys and portraying the shotgun wielding hillbillies as the good guys.
As for the comedy element to the movie, it’s played well. This isn’t a laugh out loud funny movie, it’s not trying to be, but it is very likely to make any horror comedy fan smile from time to time.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil is an underrated movie that passed me by in 2010 and is worthy of any Halloween movie marathon.