The winner of 2010’s South By Southwest Audience Award, and a hit at Sundance’s Midnight category, Canada’s Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is the type of film that critics love to ignore. After receiving this film's promo material featuring two menacing ax-and-chainsaw-wielding hillbillies and one terrified blonde, one’s first reaction is to reach for the paper basket. But unlike, say, the people behind Apollo 18, Tucker & Dale’s PR team aren't scared to also send along an advance screening. They know they have a winner on their hands.
Tucker (Alan Tudyk, the guy who takes acid on the British version of Death at a Funeral) and best pal Dale (Tyler Labine, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Mad Love) are a sort of redneck Dumb & Dumber who go to the Appalachians to spend a few days at a cabin that’s more run-down than a fixer-upper. They cross paths with a bunch of college boys and girls, and what follows is a bloody, non-stop comedy of errors and horrors: the well-meaning hillbillies believe the preppy kids are taking part in a suicide pact, while the kids think Dale and Tucker are serial murderers. Led by Jason (Jesse Moss, Final Destination 3), the kids try to “rescue” Allison, a psychology student who was actually saved from drowning by the hillbillies. The sit-down scene between the two groups, in which Allison tests her counseling skills in order to clarify the misunderstandings by “putting yourself in the other person’s shoes” is a marvelous absurdity that deserves to be seen. The acting is good; you’ll find yourself simultaneously laughing and repulsed by the antics.
Having said that, T&D is no more than what it is: a silly horror/comedy with above-average cleverness. If you’re a sucker for slasher films and stuff like An American Werewolf in London and Shaun of the Dead, this one’s for you — especially if, say, you enjoy seeing a teenager devoured by a wood chipper while someone asks afterward, “Are you OK?”
Tucker & Dale vs Evil (R)
Dir. Eli Craig; writ. Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson; feat. Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
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