Monday, December 12, 2011

Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Not to judge a book by its cover, but there are so many movies out there—especially the ones that go straight to DVD—which display titles that just tell you that you’re going to be watching a stupid movie. Most of the time I skip them because I’m not one to punish myself with something that’s such a waste of time, wishing I hadn’t squandered two hours of my life with it. I usually go with my instincts on some of these titles, but there are a few, such as Tucker and Dale vs Evil, where I trust the given star rating on IMDb or Netflix and decide to give it a try.

Before watching it, I had heard about the movie through various movie podcasts and even Leonard Maltin gave it a good review—a rarity for a horror movie—so I started thinking this might be a pretty entertaining film. Seeing it as a feature recommendation on Netflix about a week ago, I clicked on it and waited for its arrival.

The movie starts as your typical and clich├ęd horror movie fanfare of a group of kids setting off to the woods for a weekend of camping and partying, all piled into an SUV as they head to their destination.  Most of the kids are just forgettable characters, but the ones of note are Chad (the guy who thinks he’s just too cool and can get any girl he wants) and Allison (obvious as the survivor girl from the start).

As they continue their drive, they come up on some old pickup and go around it. Soon, that same pickup is gaining on them and it starts to pass the kids. As they look over at the passing truck, they notice the guys inside of the cab are a couple of hillbillies just glaring at them, looking like bad news. The kids shine it on (after appearing a little frightened), making a few disparaging comments about the men, but continue their conversation on their trip, when suddenly one of the girls exclaimed that they forgot to bring the beer. Oh, that’s comedy! (sarcasm)

Down the road, the kids stop at a beat-up-looking service station/convenience store, not really paying attention to the same pickup parked right outside. We—the audience—notice it, but not the characters in the film, which I thought must’ve been a minor flaw in the film or the filmmakers just showing us how dumb the kids are...either way, it's forgiven. As some of the kids enter the store, we see one of the hillbillies at the counter talking to the cashier, complete with overalls and an over-the-top country bumpkin accent. As Allison looks through the aisles, she comes face-to-face with the other hillbilly from the pickup, startling her to leave the store.

As the kids get their beer and are packing it in their coolers, we get our real first introduction to Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine)—the previously mentioned hillbillies. It turns out that Tucker and Dale are a couple of nice guys heading out to their newly purchased summer home that they’re going to renovate. Dale—the burly and bearded of the two—actually is attracted to Allison. There’s a pretty funny exchange between Dale and the kids that solidify in their minds that the hillbillies are people they should stay away from.

Tucker and Dale get to their summer home and are excited to start renovating it, noticing that there’s not much to do, but clean and fix a few flaws here and there. It turns out that the kids are staying not too far from Tucker and Dale’s newly acquired summer home and shortly after nightfall, the fun begins.  As the kids are starting their weekend with a few beers by the fire, Chad tells them a story about a “Memorial Day Massacre” that happened some years back, about a group of hillbillies attacking some kids that were there for the weekend.  Of course, it unnerves the others, being in the dark woods in the middle of nowhere, so with that in their heads, it helps with what we have in store for a very entertaining movie.

Basically, this film is written well with some camp added to it, but it takes the typical horror movie formula and sort of turns it around. It’s lighthearted and funny—especially the exchanges between Tucker and Dale—but has a smattering of kills with gore effects throughout.

Essentially, the story is how Tucker and Dale are misunderstood to be a couple of evil-doers by the kids. One-by-one, the kids are accidentally killing themselves with the remaining peers thinking it’s Tucker and Dale who are doing the killing. It’s very funny at times with a lot of shocks and how damned unlucky those kids are.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is on par with—and maybe a little more enjoyable than—Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, probably because it really doesn’t deal with the supernatural or zombies but sort of parodies the slasher genre. I think one thing they did on purpose was to make you expect the film to feature nudity and not present it at all. I mean, come on! The one slutty girl, dressed in cut-off denim shorts and a low cut blouse, exposing her cleavage, and she never gets naked?! Some younger horror fans may be miffed about that.

Anyway, without further a do, here’s my final “bit” on Tucker and Dale vs Evil: Go rent this movie now. It is hilarious and entertaining and, in fact…you know what? Don’t bother renting it, just buy it. I’m going to look for it on Blu-Ray to add to my collection. It is a classic in the making!