Tucker and Dale, two mild mannered yokels, have recently purchased a holiday home in the form of a cabin in the woods, and are setting to work fixing it up. Meanwhile, a group of college kids are camping in the same woods, but when they start dying in bizarre accidents, they get it into their heads that they’re being picked off by the odd looking hillbillies with power-tools.
Cheap fodder for multiplexes these days usually takes the shape of spoof comedies that point their clueless fingers at loved genres and poke fun wherever they can so that the teenage morons, or everyday morons, can laugh along and make the rest of us feel a little sadder for the state of humanity. The, let’s not beat about the bush, turd, Scary Movie franchise and all the various spin-offs that it has spawned are prime examples of this. They are cheap, cynical, unfunny, have zero shelf-life but somehow never fail to take piles of cash at the box office.
However, sometimes a film comes along that, while having a bit of a laugh at the expense of a given genre, is quite obviously made by lovers and enthusiasts of the genre and is aimed at fans of the same ilk. Good examples of this are The Three Amigos, Galaxy Quest (practically the same film) and the lesser-seen Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Happily we can now add to this list Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, a farce comedy that is meticulously observed and presented as a slasher movie. While it works 100% to its intension, there is little to be said about the film, as the whole thing is basically a one-note joke, but it is a great joke and just has to be watched and enjoyed, especially by horror fans, who will most certainly appreciate the nuances more than most.
It’s competently put together, but isn’t anything special directorially, which may in fact be a blessing as it then has a greater reliance on its three strongest assets; its central concept, which is original, its smart writing, which is always funny and unpredictable, and the pure likeability of the leads.
Here we are gifted with three recognisable and talented comedy actors that have long required a leading vehicle. Alan Tudyk (Wash from Firefly), Tyler Labine (Sock from Reaper) and Katrina Bowden (The-Super-Hot-One from 30 Rock) have fantastic chemistry and bring spark and personality to a script that, while clever, could easily have gone wrong in its execution.
It has all the traits of an indie/cult classic, and from where I’m sitting, there’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be one. Definitely worth your time.
A- grade – for originality
B- grade – for storytelling
B+ grade – for cast
B grade – for comedy
Overall grade – B+
Tucker and Dale Vs Evil is officially released in the U.S on September 30, 2011. No release dates have been planned for other English speaking countries.