Good horror/comedies stick in your mind long after you have watched them, great horror/comedies will get quoted to death and revisited many, many times. The bad ones? They get forgotten just as soon as the credits roll, and deservedly so. Edgar Wright’s 2004 flick Shaun of the Dead, to me anyway, is the modern benchmark for this tricky little sub-genre. It was a film that showed an obvious and knowledgeable love of the genre yet managed to keep the laughs coming thick and fast with an absolute gem of a script. It was, and still is, almost the perfect horror comedy.
With that in mind I move on to Tucker and Dale vs Evil, a Canadian lensed film, which looks to eschew zombie in favor of the other horror movie staple; the Hillbilly. Ever since Deliverance made us want to squeal like a pig back in 1972 the Hillbilly has almost become the modern day boogeyman. Hair-lips, inbreeding and an unusual amount of trashed automobiles aplenty with these good folk, of that you can be sure.
Tucker and Dale (Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine) are two country boys who are heading out in the woods to do some restoration work on Tucker’s recently purchased vacation home. At the same time a group of, mostly obnoxious, college kids are also heading out to the very same (red)neck of the woods in order to party, party Russell Harty. Along their journey the kids cross paths with our titular anti-heroes and assume that they are backwood knuckle-draggers who want nothing more than to terrorize them.
From the very get-go Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a classic take of mistaken identities and predjudicial views of character stereotypes. The entire movie is played for laughs, even in its darker and more violent moments. Even though it is primarily a comedy it does get very bloody in places and these moments are quite often the funniest, especially with the dialogue that accompanies them. With that being said I would definitely say that the script is the strongest element of this movie, it made me laugh out loud many times and the delivery by Tudyk and Labine is spot-on. Their interaction between each other truly was a joy to watch, they play it totally straight which just heightens the comedy.
On the flipside the kids, who are deliberately annoying, are also played well by the young cast. Katrina Bowden, as Allison, and Jesse Moss, as Chad, being the stand-outs mainly due to the fact that they have the most to work with. As with all good films though it is the sum of all the parts combined that add up to make this bloody good time.
If there was a downside to all this frivolity it would probably be that the movie almost seemed to run out of steam a little towards the one hour mark. It does pick back up soon after and really was just a little hiccup in the grand scheme of things.
So, at the end of the day, is Tucker and Dale vs Evil a great horror/comedy? That really remains to be seen. What I will say though is that it is an incredibly good one that will have you laughing along with the action. It strikes me as the sort of movie that would be further enhanced by watching it with a group of friends and a few beers.
One way in which I gauge the quality of a movie is that if I still want to buy the movie after watching a review screener I know that I am onto a winner, and Tucker and Dale vs Evil is most definitely a winner.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil is currently available on VOD with a theatrical release set for September 30th in the USA. It will be available on DVD and region-free Blu-ray in the UK on September 26th and on DVD and Blu-ray in the USA on November 29th