Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a film I can recommend to anyone. Sure, it caters mostly to horror fans, poking fun at familiar tropes, but it has a wider appeal as well. Tucker & Dale is a laugh-out-loud comedy with over-the-top violence and no shortage of sight gags, but it still has heart. Tucker & Dale are backwoods bumpkins, but they are backwoods bumpkins with hearts of gold… and chainsaws.
The film is a sendup of both classic slasher films and redneck horror or “Hellbilly Horror” as it is sometimes called. The story follows a group of sexy teens as face off against what they believe are unsavory sons of the soil. The twist: the two unsavory characters in question are actually well-meaning blue collar guys who only want to spend a weekend at their dilapidated cabin in the woods. Through a series of misunderstandings, the teens believe Tucker & Dale are trying to kill them and wage war. This results in the teens continually killing themselves in bizarre freak accidents. It’s as unique a premise you’ll find in the genre.
The misunderstandings are what make this film so enjoyable. Like when Dale (Tyler Labine) tries to talk to a girl and just comes off as a deranged pervert psycho. Or when Tucker (Alan Tudyk) is chopping wood with a chainsaw only to a bee hive, which makes him run around like a maniac chasing people. The gags are solid and the performances even better.
I have no idea why Tyler Labine is not a huge star. There is no reason he shouldn’t be starring in underwhelming secret agent comedies with Jon Hamm. Labine has such a teddy bear charm it’s impossible not to like him. Come on Hollywood, we need more funny fat guys! Jack Black is getting old and Josh Gad is too weird. We want Labine!
Alan Tudyk is a pro in his abilities to play comedic and straight roles. As Tucker, he is mostly stern but still funny in his frustrations with teens and Dale’s buffoonery. The two find a good chemistry together, improved further by the addition of Allison (Katrina Bowden), the only sexy teen who understands the pair.
The film doesn’t carry much weight outside of the laughs and kills, but it doesn’t really need to. This is a movie about having fun and getting the opportunity to cheer on characters usually reserved for villains. Writer/Director Eli Craig has yet to make another film, but I hope when he does he remembers what made Tucker & Dale vs. Evil so good; kills, thrills, and Tyler “should be the next John Candy” Labine.