Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85% (Critics) 84% (Audience)
Directed By: Eli Craig
Written By: Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk and Katrina Bowden
Studio: Magnet/Magnolia Pictures
Synopsis: TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL is the tale of two hillbilly BFF’s, Tucker and Dale (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) who are setting out to spend some quality time at their recently purchased cabin in the woods when they have the misfortune of running into a group of college kids heading to those same woods for a weekend getaway. A series of misunderstandings leads the college kids to assume that Tucker and Dale are a couple of Deliverance style crazy serial killers who have kidnapped one of their friends, Allison (Katrina Bowden). From there things get progressively crazier as the college kids begin to accidentally kill themselves in their attempts to “rescue” Allison from the two unsuspecting rednecks.
This movie is hysterical! The college kids dying through goofy mishaps of their own causing is humorous enough but the reactions that Tucker and Dale have to all the craziness going on around them is even funnier. At one point Tucker (the brains of the outfit) comes to the brilliant conclusion that the college kids are part of some suicide cult and Dale of course thinks that is the most obvious rationale for what is going on. Tucker and Dale’s utterly clueless natures are the best parts of the film. The other thing that I really enjoyed is how the seemingly normal college kids ended up being far more accepting (and pretty damn eager at times too) of the idea of doing bodily harm to their fellow man than one would have expected.
The performances of the two leads are great. Tudyk and Labine are both favorites of mine from their past work on two of my favorite canceled too soon TV shows FIREFLY and REAPER. Tudyk pulls off the hillbilly straight man role to a tee playing up Tucker’s exasperation with all of the nonsense he is being forced to deal with on what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation for him. And Labine really goes against type as Dale. Usually he plays the wisecracking, sarcastic, skirtchaser character but in TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL Labine is playing a more naive and sensitive guy plus he is actually the romantic male lead of the movie. Its not often members of Team Chunk get to be the guy who gets the girl so that was a refreshing change of pace too. The rest of the cast does fine work with what they were given.
Katrina Bowden does OK as Allison but she is not the strongest actress and for the most part she is just tasked with looking pretty and needing to be rescued. The other younger cast fit into the area of generally adequate actors that you would expect in a horror/slasher movie with one standout. Jesse Moss as Chad the leader of the college crew is really good as his character swiftly goes from run of the mill popular 80s teen movie douchebag into a deranged maniac who seems right at home wielding an ax with murder in his eyes.
Final Verdict: TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL is a great addition to the catalog of horror/comedy movies with just enough funny stuff to keep you laughing hysterically but balancing it with some genuine moments of gore and horror. Mixed with a likable bunch of actors playing interesting characters and it becomes a movie that has cult hit written all over it. I recommend that anyone who likes these types of movies (or just enjoys entertaining cinema) check it out right now for a limited time On Demand through your cable provider or at the theater when it gets a limited release starting on September 30. B