First off, I will say this is a movie that not everyone will enjoy. I fully understood that going in, and hope that you will take that into conderation before you yourself check this film out. TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL is not a horror film; this is a spoof feature much in the vein of SCARY MOVIE (without being as over-the-top with the slapstick comedy). This film falls in its own place, being not nearly as smart a comedy as say (the brilliant) SHAUN OF THE DEAD, but again not nearly as "goofy" as most other parody films.
If you're a fan of 80's slashes films, enjoy comedy and want to see some fun and yes gory deaths, this is a film you will enjoy. If you're not a fan of say, EVIL DEAD II, don't expect to like this movie. It takes on a Sam Raimi influenced style (much of the film pays homage to the second EVIL DEAD film right down to DALE's tattoo), and like the aforementioned clasc, doesn't pretend to take itself seriously, with the exception of the last 15 minutes of the film.
The picture starts off as many slashes films do: cliche college kids set out for a weekend of wilderness fun. You have the bratty cheerleader type, the stuck up chick, the token "black" guy and your standard "douche bag" character (who's of course a constent dick throughout the film), the whole lineup of typical clowns are expectedly accounted for. On their way to their vacation retreat they stop to fill up the tank at a local gas station. This is where the fun really begins, as it marks the point where they run into the main characters of the film, TUCKER and DALE.
The beloved goofballs that are TUCKER and DALE are immediately assumed to be crazy mountain serial killers by the kids. It's a prejudice we probably all have thanks to the films that TUCKER & DAVE VS. EVIL try so hard to poke fun at. In truth, we learn quickly that these two guys are nothing more than a pair of softies who recently bought a "summer house" (that happens to look nearly identical to the EVIL DEAD cabin) in the same forest that the college kids just so happen to be viting. Coincidence? You betcha! But neither parties realize that they are about to become entangled in a web of misunderstandings the likes we have never seen before.
One misunderstanding after another unfold and the entire film plays out like an episode of THREE'S COMPANY. You know the comedy style where Mr. Furley walks in and sees Jack doing something innocent but its at that perfect time when it looks like Jack is having sex with a man? If you're a fan of the show and get that kind of humor that is exactly what happens here. The kids mistake TUCKER and DALE as killers, while TUCKER and DALE realize it's actually the kids that are killing themselves: Every time they turn around they find another "college kid" as they blank-idly refer to them, filleted on a stick or stuck in a wood chipper. It doesn't help that when TUCKER is cutting through a tree stump he happens to hit a hornets nest and then blindly starts swirling around with chainsaw in hand ala LEATHERFACE. It's so funny you can't help but laugh.
The film lingers for awhile but the charm of TUCKER and DALE (played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) never seems to wear off. That said, the film does stall a bit in the second act. As the third act sets in we learn that the main "college kid", the "douche bag" has some ties to the cabin that TUCKER and DALE now own and we learn quickly where the EVIL in this film comes from. Things get serious quickly and while the film wraps up nicely, it does seem to linger about 5 minutes too long. A forgivable 5 minutes that doesn't take away from the overall experience of the film itself, might I add.
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All in all, this is a refreshing film that actually gets the parody and comedy right. The shots at 80's slasher films are fun and the exercing of stereotypes that horror has built up over the decades are dead on.
It's important to note, that if the two main characters were not played so well, this film could have ealy crashed and burned. But TUCKER and DALE are perfectly portrayed by Tudyk and Labine, and it's a sound saving grace.
If you're on the fence about this, don't be. If you have a group a friends, a few drinks and want to have some fun this is the film to watch. The gore is there, the laughs are there and overall this is the send-up the slasher genre needed. One thing I did assume going into this film and was shocked by is the lack of 80's slasher style nudity and language. I was shocked that there was literally no nudity (even the skinny dipping scene included clothing, which didn't quite make sense) and the strong language was minimal. I found that to be a bit shocking but not necessarily a bad thing. Just unexpected from a film that is parodying films known to lean on exploitative tactics. It's almost a film you could watch with a younger crowd as there is gore, but it is so over-the-top that its almost cartoonish.
I'm glad I got a chance to screen this film and was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of laughs and beloved characters. This will be a "cult" hit without a doubt! If Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine never go on to do another film expect them to enjoy making $20 an autograph at every horror convention because they will be instantly embraced by us
Review by: Justin Swarens (BooMan)