ICYMI - Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
The last decade or so has given us a number of smart and funny horror comedies including 2006’s Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, 2009’s Dead Snow and 2015’s The Final Girls. I will write about each of these films in the near future but this week I wanted to focus on my favorite of this recent breed of clever films spoofing horror: 2010’s Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. From co-writer and director Eli Craig (son of Sally Field) comes a very funny film that takes the “secluded kids at the cabin” trope and turns it on its head.
The film stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as the titled Tucker and Dale, respectively. They are established early on as well meaning, lifelong buddies headed up to Tucker’s “vacation cottage” in the woods. Some laughs ensue when they arrive at what can best be described as a “fixer-upper.” Along the way, the duo is mistaken for murderous hillbillies by a group of college kids who are looking to party in a nearby cabin. If only these meddling kids would have stayed away. A whole lot of misunderstandings lead to a series of Rube Goldberg-type deaths and Tucker and Dale are fighting to stay alive.
The main catalyst of the story is Allison (Katrina Bowden, best known from “30 Rock”), who strays away from her friends and gets rescued by the romantically-challenged Dale. The scenes between these two are surprisingly sweet as Dale shows there is more to him than some country bumpkin conventions. The unofficial group leader, Chad (Jesse Moss), believing his supposed sexual conquest has been kidnapped spurs the others into action and becomes more and more blood-thirsty by the moment. Chad’s backstory, when revealed, is one of film’s more interesting twists.
Tucker and Dale Vs Evil is charming and crafty but also very dark and very violent, so be prepared. Much like Shaun of the Dead, it starts off as a spoof of horror, having fun with many of the clichés, and then becomes an effective film of the genre. But at the heart of the film are Tucker and Dale. As played by Alan Tudyk (best known for playing Wash in “Firefly”) and Tyler Labine they are goofy and a bit slow at times but very likeable. It’s hard to not root for this pair in the face of the chaotic events of the film. The film has developed something of a cult following and I am surprised we haven’t been blessed with a sequel yet. As the credits rolled the first time I saw it, I was ready for Tucker and Dale Vs Evil 2, Tucker and Dale Vs More Evil and the eventual crossover dream of Tucker and Dale Vs The Evil Dead. Now, that’s a film franchise I could get behind.