Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil Directed by: Eli Craig Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden Running Time: 1 hour 30 min Rating: R Release Date: September 30, 2011
PLOT: Two hillbillies (Labine and Tudyk) go to the country for a quiet weekend to work on a fixer upper, and end up being attacked by crazy college students.
WHO'S IT FOR? Anyone familiar with the tropes of slasher movies. So everyone?
Part horror movie, part comedy, and part romance, Tucker and Dale covers a lot of territory. Two poorly dressed hillbillies go to work on the new lake cabin they purchased, sight unseen. Unfortunately, it was the site of series of killings. A group of college students camping nearby mistake the two for crazy killers, like those in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film could have been successful if they had just stuck with that conceit, but Craig goes further, making Tucker and Dale well-rounded characters.
Labiene and Tudyk have done some great work and it's wonderful to see them really getting decent parts. Tudyk is close to my heart for being Wash in Firefly and Serenity. He's also done good work in 28 Days (the Sandra Bullock rehab movie that was actually pretty good) and A Knight's Tale (which is an underrated gem). His Tucker is a ladies man and the alpha of their duo. But the heavy-lifting goes to Labine who stole the show on TV's Reaper and Invasion. His Dale is a sweet soul who you root for, not just because he's innocent, but because he's well-rounded and likable.
Bowden has a thankless role as the nice, hot girl (aka the one who typically survives the horror). She's most famous for playing Cerie on 30 Rock, but does a good job in this role, which is more developed than the typical slasher girl heroine.
Tucker and Dale manages to be a really well-rounded movie. What starts off as a spoof of slasher films (and does a good job of that), morphs into a sweet movie about an outcast looking to find love. The characters have real arcs. It's funny, silly, gross, and really sweet at the same time. I'm really excited to see what Craig comes up with next.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10