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  Tucker and Dale vs. Evil Big Mistake
Year: 2010
Director: Eli Craig
Stars: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne, Joseph Allan Sutherland
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: When this group of college kids go on a holiday to the more isolated areas of West Virginia, they're ready to party hard in the wilderness, camping, drinking, having fun, you know the sort of thing. But the drinking part will be difficult when it turns out they forgot the beer, so they're forced to stop at a convenience store on the way to stock up. However, when they get out of their car they notice the two sinister-looking hillbillies who passed them on the road, and when Allison (Katrina Bowden) goes into the store she becomes paranoid that they are both staring at her...

Sounds like the start of a horror movie, right? Well, it is, except that Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was a comedy as well, a highly entertaining spoof of all those backwoods shockers that followed in the wake of Deliverance and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In those movies, the denizens of the out of the way areas are not to be trusted, and in fact murderous towards any outsiders, but here that was not the case: Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) may appear threatening at the beginning, but actually they're simply socially inept, especially Dale who is nervously regarding Allison as some kind of rare beauty he has never seen before.

That doesn't mean he wants to kill her, but that's not what the college kids think when he goes over, encouraged by Tucker, and tries to make conversation only to come across as if he was a little touched in the head, not to mention scary. The leader of the students is Chad (Jesse Moss), and he's seen too many of those movies and heard too many unsubstantiated rumours into the bargain, because he immediately takes against the two title characters as if they were itching to dismember him and his pals, when they're both actually really nice guys. This is pretty much the joke, but it's a solid one, and before long the laughs are plentiful.

There's one extra bit to the joke which earns its horror credentials: you know how in slasher flicks the victims tend to act in a reckless fashion considering there is a killer on the loose? Well, here there may not be any killer, but that doesn't stop the students getting despatched - by their own clumsy hand. No sooner have they started to believe that Tucker and Dale are bad news, than they see them save Allison when she takes a tumble going for a midnight swim, only they don't realise the hapless duo are coming to the rescue and think it is they who knocked her out. They run off in panic leaving Tucker and Dale to take the girl back to their holiday cabin, or "fixer-upper" as they like to term it.

The situations following that are farcical, but no less funny for that as they send up the ideas of prejudice with a goofy sense of humour, illustrating that jumping to conclusions and expecting the worst as a result is not really the best way to go about your day. So we get Tucker, chainsaw in hand, rushing towards the students, but they don't see he is fleeing the hornets' nest he has disturbed: like a lot of the jokes, they're pretty obvious but director Eli Craig (son of Sally Field) and his co-writer Morgan Jurgenson didn't let that stop them from making the audience laugh, and much of that was down to the sympathy for our much-misunderstood pair that they engendered. With a script that was more sophisticated than it first appeared, they ended up with the neat twist that your most blinkered character, the one who is intent on killing Tucker and Dale before they "kill" him, is the actual psycho. All that and a surprisingly sweet romance as the ordeal allows Dale to find his confidence with the opposite sex, this was a real winner. Music by Mike Shields.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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