Friday, February 12, 2016

Rural weirdos in the horror-comedy 'Tucker and Dale Versus Evil'

About the movie
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
MPAA rating:
Running time:
Release date:
Alan Tudyk; Jesse Moss; Katrina Bowen; Tyler Labine
Directed by:
Eli Craig

In the horror-comedy "Tucker and Dale Versus Evil," the evil is every horror movie you've seen featuring drooling rural weirdos.

Movies based on fear of leaving the interstate date to Norman Bates and beyond, but the trend has accelerated in recent years with remakes of 20th century countrified slaughterfests - "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Straw Dogs" "Last House on the Left," and on and on and on and on and on.

And on.

"Tucker and Dale" flips the stereotype by looking at the scenario from the perspective of those holding the chainsaws. In this case, a couple of genial West Virginia boys (Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine) going up the mountain to work on their vacation home.

The ingenious premise is that one man's vacation home is another man's terrifying cabin in the woods, so long as we specify that "another man" is a hack horror director or an urban know-it-all.

On the way, Tucker and Dale run into a car full of joy-riding college kids, kicking off a series of comical misunderstandings.

Most are built around the idea that poor, shy Dale has a hard time talking to girls, so when he shuffles over to make conversation, he sounds like one of the babbling inbred goons of "The Hills Have Eyes." (Labine is great in this role, like a young Jonathan Winters.)

This is compounded when Dale rescues an unconscious skinnydipper by hauling her into his bass boat. Her friends flee, thinking they've witnessed an abduction.

Thus commences the kids vs. hillbilly slapstick smackdown that drives the movie, as college kids advance on the cabin and have unfortunate accidents with dangerous farm equipment. (Tucker is inside with the convalescing girl playing Trivial Pursuit, one of the funniest visual jokes I've seen this year.)

"Tucker and Dale" doesn't have the sustained pacing and escalating laugh density of, say, "Shaun of the Dead," but it has four or five of the funniest gags/lines I've seen this year, and it's a long overdue rebuke to genre laziness and Hollywood snobbery.Produced by Albert Klychak, Rosanne Milliken, Deepak Nayar and Morgan Jurgenson, directed by Eli Craig, written by Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson, music by Mike Shields, distributed by Magnet Releasing.


Daily News Film Critic
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