Thursday, February 16, 2012

Evol College Kids and Hillbilly Love: Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (Canada/US, 2010)
starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk and Katrina Bowden

By far the sweetest slasher film I've ever laid eyes upon. Tucker and Dale vs EVIL has a lot going from charming leads and crazy characters to hilarious deaths and one awesome killer "college kid".

Opening with a handheld camcorder POV, a news crew ventures upon an abandoned barn ala amateur snooping only for the anchor and cameraman getting killed by who appears to be a mad man with a serious burn.

Our heroic Bumpkins!
Travel back three days prior, we follow a group of partying "college kids" (love that term!) stopping at a gas stop to load up on fuel and beer as well as meet  two hillbillies, Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine). After a misunderstanding that lead the kids believing Dale, scythe at hand and giggling like a moron, is no more than a raving maniac, the two group went on to their separate ways with the lake for the kids and run-down wood cabin ala summerhouse for Tuck and Dale (which appears to be previously owned by a real maniac. Ooh, awkward).

That night, the teens shares the typical campfire tale of killer hillbillies and a group of partying teens like them getting massacred, as just so happens Tuck and Dale were fishing nearby. When one of the teens, the lovely Allison (Katrina Bowden) decided to swim, slips and nearly drowned, Dale rushes in to save her and took her to their cabin to help, a gesture Allison came to like and quickly befriend the two bumpkins in gratitude.

What was a simple act of good intentions leads to a series of further misunderstandings and fear-fueled actions, as the rest of the teens tries to "save" Allison from Tuck and Dale, and, in process, dies trying in a bizarre series of accidents. Let's just say, things aren't getting any prettier by the minute for everyone, not with Hillbilly hating Chad (Jesse Moss) leading them to their (own) dooms.

For so many years, we'd been bombarded by tons of Hillbilly horrors, from the mainstream cinematics of Deliverance, to unknown names like Southern Comfort, to the basic slasher killer trope ala Madman and even the latter Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels (part 3 and 4 seems to befit this a lot); what T&DvsEvil did was a good eye on social commentary, turning tables at the usual stereotypes and gave us a dirty Hillbilly to love and a set of teens to fear, all of this wrapped in a genuine Romantic Comedy take in vein of Shaun of The Dead.

At last, the perfect slasher-smile!
It's easy to point out this film's highlights: the cast is one, aside from the charming portrayal of the three main leads' characters, every performance is just awesome and no character is dull or annoying. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine all got their act right, giving us a new root-worthy team as that of Simon Pegg and nick Frost's characters from Shaun. Same goes for Katrina Bowden, while most of his appearance had her knocked out for a momentous amount of reasons, she did proved her character to be a strong and caring persona that tries to hold everything, Hillbillies and friends, together. The rest of the teen casts had them being unlikely foes; though, they're not that bad enough to hate all through out and still provided many laughs as an exploit to the usual teen victim stereotype, "dumb and horny college kids". Only Jesse Moss' character stood up as an unlikely yet cool villain. He played a teenager who grew up hating Hillbillies to the point of calling them "pure evil" and soon, in an unfortunate turn of events, turned into this super cool, slasher psycho that I'm glad to nickname "Burn Face". You can say seeing him stood up from that smoking remains that was a house and let out a roar won my approval of him as a villain.

Another factor that got me liking was the kills; You could say that it's a slasher-less slasher thanks to the copious amount of "accidental" kills, such as tripping into pikes, running through an uprooted tree and the messiest, a woodchipper "jumping" but thanks to the comical nature of these kills, as in watching the two hillbillies react in disgust and horror as they're seeing this, is laugh material for me. That and "Burn Face" Chad putting a nice chainsaw fight with the "intimidating" Dale.

The script is also pure comic genius, littered with one-liners that parodies a lot of horror concepts, and it literally pokes fun on this ideals that we all got so used to. One nod actually got me laughing so hard, I choked on my spit; after accidentally sawing through a hive of angry bees, Tucker suddenly ran out wielding his chainsaw ala Leatherface, frightening, of course, the teens into running. Seeing how they turned an iconic scenario to a weirdly "common"  situation like that really just got me off-guarded.

But what I really like about the film the most was it's warm and very campy in nature. It's gruesome in terms of splatstick material deaths, but the overall effectiveness of the film was more on romantic comedy than horror. There's more care than hate, more kindness than meanness, even the teen's attack on the Tucker and Dale was more on saving their bud from, what they thought, evil people. From this, you can tell this is a feel-good film, which may or may not be such a bad thing, which leads us to my next point.

One long LONG day for everyone.
The effectiveness of its genre would rely on people's taste, because frankly, it's a genre movie at first glance and it's bound to had some criticisms. Some may point out some predictability, while some would criticize the jokes. Others would complain the ineffectiveness of the film's genre blending, but personally, it works, and I'm a weird-enough guy to love the weird and wonderful, and this is no exception because I can see it works.

It's a weird choice to suggest for a Valentine movie, but yeah, if you got a good gal or guy with a morbid or at least a good sense of humor, try cackling at this gem. Tucker and Dale VS Evil is bound to cause some winces, tickle some funny bones, and melt a few hearts.

1 female head jabbed with pipe
1 male head beaten with pipe
1 male buzzsaw thrown to his face (story)
1 female machete to the neck (story)
1 male and 2 females killed (story)
1 male accidentally ran through a tree root, impaled
1 male trips and accidentally impaled himself on a javelin
1 male accidentally jumps into woodchipper
1 male nailed board hits his head by accident
1 male accidentally shot himself in the face (see where this is going?)
1 male thrown into incinerator, burned to death (story)
1 male accidentally set ablaze
1 female face shredded on tree-trimming saw by accident, immolated in TNT explosion
1 female immolated in TNT explosion
total: 16

(In case yer wondering why I sometimes spell "evil" as "evol"? Cuz it's a play on the word "love"...cheesy, but for Bloody Valentine week, I'm super cheesy!)


  1. Fabulous little horror comedy. Not as awesome as I expected, but still highly entertaining, especially the hilarious scene with the bees :)
    Great review, Herman!

    1. Love the bees scene! cracks me up every time! XD