Tucker and Dale Vs Evil -- Bloody Comedy of Errors

                               You might have seen this set-up in many flicks: party-minded, stupid college kids go the woods for fun -- like running in the underclothing and boozing -- and suddenly they confront some local evil, like hillbillies, who start their own party with slicing and dicing. The isolation that is incorporated with the rural surroundings is used to cook up some scares. From "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Deliverance" to "Wrong Turn", rural inbred are considered as a menace. The difference is, Deliverance and Chainsaw Massacre are kind of original products, whereas the recent slasher pics are just reiterations filled with cliches. In this way, Eli Carig's "Tucker and Dale Vs Evil" (2010) fits perfectly into slasher structure. It's crazy and violent and at the same time, it's funny and original. It represents an extreme case of mistaken identity. It is the "Shaun of the Dead" of slasher flicks.

                                   The movie begins with the usual marijuana-breathing, sexually charged coeds heading to the woods for a weekend of stupid fun. At the gas station, they run into Tucker and Dale (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine). Tucker, the smarter of the two, encourages the big-hearted Dale to try his flirtation on the group of college kids, which obviously goes horribly wrong. Tucker and Dale are off to their broken-down shack to spend the weekend. The teenagers set camp just across the lake, opposite the duo's fishing getaway. 

                                  In the night, Allison (Katrina Bowden), the psychology student in the gang, has a swimming accident. Tucker and Dale come to her rescue. However, her friends confuse the sight of them dragging her unconscious body and think that they are going to do some nefarious things to her. Chad (Jesse Moss), the group leader hollers that he will bring her back and issues orders to prepare for an attack. One misunderstanding paves way to another as hapless and panic-stricken accidentally off themselves. Each incident is interpreted as the evidence of hillbilly's blood-lust.     

                                     Director Eli Craig's debut feature (from a script he wrote with Morgan Jurgenson) has put together a lot of cliches and takes its time to skewer at them. Movies like, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’’ “Halloween,’’ “Friday the 13th,’’ “The Blair Witch Project,’’  comes under their scanner and at the same time it remains as a movie rather than a collection of parodies (the bland "Scary Movie" series). The happily gruesome vibe runs into disaster towards the end, when one of the college kid characters is infused with a torturous back story. The flirtation efforts between Dale and Allison are just there to fill up the 86 minutes. The lunacy of the first part and the frenzy of midpoint are totally missing in the later action. 

                                 However, the movie works. It is a smartly crafted movie in a dumb genre, and the performances of Labine and Tudyk are so likeable. Their slapstick doesn't turn out greater meanings, but they have a wonderful comedic chemistry. Although, the movie is grounded in a satirical environment, the bodies do pile up -- explicit gore included. So, those who hate gory midnight movies might not yield to this film too. 

                                   "Tucker and Dale Vs Evil" has no higher ambitions other than entertainment. It is a funny deconstruction of a genre. 


Tucker and Dale Vs Evil -- IMDb        


Unknown said...

Wow cool!
Isn't that Alan with the chainsaw?
btw loved the way the members loaded on the site!

Ravi said...

I saw this movie some time back in TV.

When the movie started, I said "oh, no, not another slasher", but as you mentioned it changes then to be a mistaken identity. I liked the film.