Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Title: Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
Director: Eli Craig
Whilst there are a few directors whose previous consistency has meant I constantly keep an eye on their works, the list of actors and actresses that fit the bill seem to be far smaller, but making the cut comes the cast of Firefly/Serenity. My curiosity at what they have next lined up has seen me getting through the mediocre “Sarah Conner Chronicles” for Summer Glau, and attempting to watch pieces of “Desperate Housewives” because Nathan Fillion joined the cast (THAT was horrendous), so the prospect of a cast member – Alan Tudyk in this case (Wash from Firefly) – doing something more in tune with my tastes is something I couldn't pass up. Things only get better when you notice co-starring is the infamous face of Tyler Labine, perhaps better known as the only reason to watch “Reaper,” and together they form the terrible duo known as Tucker and Dale primed to uhh...do up their holiday home. And no that's not a euphemism.
Because whilst on the surface this appears to be a slasher film – and there are no shortage of them, comical ones or otherwise – this still manages to take a fresh twist on the classic style. Tucker and Dale may appear to be stupid hill-billy’s living in the middle of nowhere, intent on renovating their newly purchases wooden shack of a holiday home, but to the outsider they could look like frightening serial killers, hell bent on causing death and destruction at every turn. Such is the view taken by a group of college kids who bear witness to these ungainly creatures dragging off one of their friends, unknown to them that she had hit her head falling from a rock. As they begin to plan their attack to rescue her, further mishaps ensue and one by one, the young teenagers kill themselves at their feet of their enemy, and its all Tucker and Dale can do hide the evidence and salvage the dream of their home.
Comical deaths are nothing new but accidental comical deaths is a twist that doesn't frequently seem to be utilised; that there is no real 'evil' in this story – well, not until the end anyway – and that both sides are just as scared of each other lends itself to some great situations as they misread the situation and act only to escalate it all. Some of the jokes tend to be fairly obvious before the punchline finally emerges, but worse than that is the construction of the trailer, spoiling a large number of the best parts in rapid succession – I'd hence suggest avoiding it like the plague – even if it's still quite amusing to watch them a second time. It also seems a little inconsistent with large sections almost completely void of comedic presence as it spends it's time either building up to something or working on the finalé. If not for the presence of Labine, who seems capable of elevating the acting abilities of those around him and is rightly is given the largest proportion of screen time, then much of the film could have descended into flat out boredom.
There is more to the film than just comedy though, and the premise whilst at times silly never comes across as wholly unbelievable. The red-necks never come across as anything but human, and the other characters – the whole two others we get to know anyway – have enough of a back story to seem like actual people and not just gore scenes waiting to happen, even if they rarely add much to the proceedings beyond their required plot advancement and a pretty face. The contrast between what seems normal to one group but deemed frightening to the other is worked well to slowly escalate the situation and not emerge out of nowhere. Ultimately this film is largely about the often obvious and slapstick comic timing between our two leads and this is where it summons it's strength. If you can endure the bad then in this unlikely pairing you'll find plenty of good.