A hilarious and witty horror comedy pulls the old switch-a-roo on the old College Kids vs Hillbillies cliche.
Thankfully, writer and director Eli Craig was able to spin convention on it's head by reversing the roles in an imaginative and truly believable way. Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine - Zach and Miri Make a Porno's late night drunken customer) are two hillbillies whose idea of a good time is fishing on the lake with a few beers and renovating their new holiday home - a tumbledown old shack that looks like it comes straight out of 'Wrong Turn.' Of course, they think it's a perfect fixer-upper and start out on the restoration. Enter a group of obnoxious, attractive and incredibly stereotypical (token black guy, scared guy, dumb blonde who wears heels etc.) college kids looking to have a party by the lake. When Allison (30 Rock's Katrina Bowden) slips, knocks her head and falls into the lake, the good ol' boys are only to glad to help out but her friends see their support as a kidnapping. Enter fork loads of misunderstandings and several fatal accidents and the remaining teens, led by the overzealous and general douche bag Chad (Final Destination 3's Jesse Moss, and not the only actor in the movie to come from that franchise), go to war with the harmless hicks. Only Allison knows what is really going on but can she explain everything before it is too late and everyone ends up killing each other?
The perspectives of this film are laid out fantastically. Two completely different sides of the story are told so well that you really would believe Tucker and Dale are out to kill you if you only saw what the teenagers see. And the idea itself is wonderful - the evil hillbillies hunting down helpless teens are actually two of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Unfortunately, years of campfire tales and horror movies have given the teens tunnel vision and they see what they want to see - vicious murders, not unlikely accidents. Despite feeling sympathy towards Tucker and Dale, I can see why the teens are mislead but I also want to shout the truth out at them.
Tudyk and Labine play the bumpkins so impeccably you'd believe they'd lived like that for years, while Moss is just such a douche, well you can see where that is going. Bowden tries to give believability to her role as a mediator but she still seems more suited to standing around looking pretty.
The deaths are another strong point. Very funny, very misfortunate and very bloody. No CGI as far as I could see, just good old fashioned fake blood, make up and body parts. They are all given a decent set up so there's not much surprise but the knowledge of what is about to happen doesn't detract from the film. This isn't a jump/scare horror and it doesn't need to be.
With belly-aching laughs and enough gore to satisfy Tom Savini, 'Tucker and Dale VS Evil' is a real surprise winner in a sea of flat parodies and unscary villains (I'm talking to you 'Lesbian Vampire Killers'). Watch it, really, watch it! And next time you're out in the West Virginian woods and some guys in dungarees with hatchets stalk towards you, give them the benefit of the doubt - until they hacked off your arm, then make a run for it.
Movie - 9
Film - 4