Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

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IMDb Rating
7.6 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

Two lovable West Virginian hillbillies, are headed to their "fixer-upper" vacation cabin to drink some beer, do some fishin', and have a good time. But when they run into a group of preppy college kids who assume from their looks that they

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MPAA Rating:
89 Minutes
Comedy, Horror
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Eli Craig
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Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on October 12th, 2011

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For a lot of people, it's easy to let one frightening moment send you spinning through a series of nightmare scenarios in your head. It's why horror movies haunt small children when they go to sleep in the dark of their bedroom. It's why movies like The Blair Witch Project struck such a chord: it was about not seeing, about the fucked up things your imagination can uncover. Thanks to horror movies, our brains have handy cliches to jump to in such situations.

And now, here comes Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, a modest horror/comedy that centers around how ridiculously willing a group of well-to-do college kids are to let their imaginations run wild while camping in the Appalachian Mountains. As the film opens, the aforementioned college kids stop at a truck stop to get beer for their trip and begin to get creeped out by the rednecks they see. One even approaches them and awkwardly stares and smiles. They peel out and start to imagine these rednecks following them and brutalizing them, a la every horror movie about hillbillies ever made.

Meanwhile, we meet two of the rednecks at the truck stop: a couple of nice guys named Tucker and Dale (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) who are in the area to fix up their newly purchased summer home. Dale, it turns out, has a hard time talking to girls, hence his stammering when he approaches the teens. Tucker gives him a pep talk about believing in himself, Dale says that he guesses Tucker's right, and they head on their merry way. It's just Tucker and Dale's luck that their vacation home happens to be right by the teens' campsite, and the tension and misunderstandings between the two groups continue to escalate to more and more absurd heights.

Much more I shouldn't say, except to note that things get outrageously bloody in remarkably short order. The key to the film's success lies in the performances by Alan Tudyck and Tyler Labine as the vaguely Abbott and Costello-esque team of Tucker and Dale. Tucker, with his more surefooted attitude and affection for Dale, eventually drifts to the background, becoming a sort of sounding board for the absurdity that surrounds them. As Dale, Tyler Labine steals the show, with a gentle, teddy bear-like demeanor that manages to find not only the humor in each scene, but the underlying heart of the movie. As Tucker & Dale vs. Evil nears its end, the film even manages to push comedy aside (albeit briefly) to reach moments that might actually bring a tear to your eye.

This is a smart, funny sleeper of a film that very clearly has a deep and knowledgeable love of the horror genre. Only because of its love can the film so effectively nudge the genre in a gently winking way. Labine, most recently seen in the very disappointing A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, has revealed himself to be a real talent. What a pleasant surprise.

Reviewer's rating: Three out of four stars

Theater: The Grand Cinema

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