This is a movie that is nearly impossible to describe without spoiling. So in case anyone reading has not seen this movie, I will try to sell this movie in this first paragraph, without giving away the concept. Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a satire of the horror genre. Basically making fun of the stereotype of the crazy hillbilly killers. There are two groups of main characters, a group of college kids, and a couple male hillbillies. A pretty standard set up, but the movie turns this trope on its head in hilarious fashion. I will not say how this happens yet, but basically, both groups end up thinking the other group is insane and dangerous. This leads to amazing comedy. From now on, I will be spoiling the movie, so if you do not want to know what happens, click away, go watch the movie, and then come back and read the rest of the review. I promise you that this movie is hilarious, and going in without knowing what happens, and how this situation is set up, makes it even better. Don’t even watch this following trailer before you watch it, the trailer gives away the joke. In fact, it gives away the whole movie.
Through a misunderstanding, the college kids believe the hillbillies knocked out and kidnapped one of their friends, played by the lovely Katrina Bowden. All the college kids see, is Tucker and Dale, played by the amazing Alan Tudyk, and Tyler Labine, pulling Katrina’s character out of the water and then shouting “We’ve got your friend.” Instead of noticing that Tucker and Dale were trying to get them to come help their friend who they just saved, the college kids biases towards the two men, cause them to freak out and run away. Tucker and Dale take Katrina’s character, Allison, back to their cabin to nurse her back to health after she almost drowned.
This is where things get really crazy because while Allison learns that she and her friends were misjudging these two men, and they are actually nice people, her friends do not have this misinformation, and they are not very smart. So they send one friend to go get the cops, while the Alpha Male of the group gets them riled up to undertake a rescue mission and attack Tucker and Dale. And what happens next, is a series of misunderstandings, that lead to people dying, in hilarious fashion.
First, they find Tucker and Dale’s cabin. They are afraid, so they force one of the group to go up and check out the cabin. Meanwhile, Tucker is using a chainsaw to cut up firewood in back of the cabin and accidentally saws into a hornet’s nest. Tucker goes running, chainsaw still in hand. But the college kids do not see the bees, all they see is a crazy man, running, and flailing around a chainsaw. So they all start running. Running so fast, one of them fails to see the sharp stick in the ground in the woods, and impales himself, dying. Whereas Tucker never even knew they were running from him, and only saw one of the kids, and did not see him die, the college kids become even more paranoid, finding the body, and assuming Tucker murdered him
This is only a taster of the craziness though. Later, still unaware of what the College kids think is happening, Tucker and Dale are doing work, like putting scrap wood into a woodchipper, and digging a latrine hole. But, the latrine hole looks suspiciously like a grave, and they see Allison digging it, and assume that they are making Allison dig her own grave. So, they come up with a plan to attack. And this is where the movie gets even more absurd and funny. One of the college kids sneaks up behind Tucker, who is at the wood chipper. He charges at him, but Tucker doesn’t notice, ducks to pick up another piece of wood, and the guy charging at him accidentally jumps right into the wood chipper. And all the guy’s friends see is Tucker holding this kids legs in the woodchipper, unaware Tucker is trying to save him. Another kid charges at Dake with a spear, trips, and impales himself on his own spear.
The movie is so smart in this way. It tears apart the horror movie formula, in such a funny way. it is not horror, though it is branded as a horror comedy. There is a small section at the end that qualifies as horror, where one of the kids completely loses his mind and reveals himself as a straight-up killer, but the majority of the movie is a dark comedy. Watching this situation escalate, is hilarious, and it pokes fun at how stupid horror movie characters are. At one point, a cop actually shows up, and it seems the situation is going to be de-escalated. But then you remember an earlier scene, where they set up that a column in the log cabin is loose, and that if pushed, will fall down, causing a death trap where the roof tile full of nails comes down. The cop is talking about how he believes they were not killing people and is going to calm the kids down, but then he leans on the column. It comes down and takes some nails to the face, and stumbles outside. So all the kids see, is a cop, with a board of nails lodged in his head, falling to the ground dead.
The acting is mostly good. Alan Tudyk is amazing, and Karina Bowden gives her best and most intriguing performance yet. Some of the college kids with lesser roles are not great, but it is not too distracting. Tyler Labine is really impressive in his feature movie debut.
The movie is delightfully absurd. It made me belly laugh. If you love dark comedy, this is the movie for you.