Schlock Shelf – Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is one of the best films I’ve seen in a really long time. Combine Earnest Goes to Camp with Friday the 13th and you’ll have this masterpiece. Tucker is the more macho of two hillbilly best friends, and he’s a really nice guy who has spent his entire life savings on a vacation home—a super rundown cabin in the woods where he and his best friend Dale can drink beer, go fishin’, and just get away from it all. These college kids have shown up and are ruining things. Eight frat/sorority kids go to the woods to drink and have sex (like most college kids do in the movies). There’s the standard campfire legend of “killers in the woods” to set the stage, and then the kids decide to go skinny dipping. One girl falls off a rock and knocks herself out. These two hillbillies who are vacationing in the area and happen to be fishing in the area see she hasn’t come up for air and rescue her. The frat kids think the hillbillies have captured their friend and they go after them.
College kid perspective: Two psychopathic hillbillies have captured their friend Alison (Cerie from 30 Rock—the hot dumb assistant to Liz Lemon) and now are systematically picking each of the friends off, one by one. The kids will do anything they can to get Alison back, and their self-proclaimed leader, Chad, is slowly losing his grip on reality. From the kids’ perspective, everything they do or see could verify this psychobilly killer theory.
Hillbilly perspective: A group of college kids have shown up and done everything they can to disturb the peaceful vacation Tucker and Dale had all planned out at the new vacation home. The kids clearly have all agreed to some sort of suicide pact and are killing themselves off, on Tucker’s new property. Not only that, but they want Alison to kill herself as well, so they’re storming the vacation home doing anything they can to make sure Alison ends up dead, as well. From the hillbilly perspective, everything that Dale and Tucker see happen could verify this college kid suicide pact theory.
Somehow, this movie pulls off total camp, but you get suckered in 100%. You know none of these coincidences would ever happen in real life, but it’s so outrageous that you buy it. All of it. The entire theater was cracking up at MANY points in the movie. Not a couple of times—MANY times. You actually enjoy seeing how the next frat kid is going to kill themselves because you know it’s going to be hilarious and not at all what you expected. The acting is better than most horror films, as is the budget. The special effects (mainly blood spraying in hilarious ways as people keep killing themselves accidentally) are very well done.
If you’re a fan of Shaun of the Dead, you’ll likely get a huge kick out of this. It’s probably not a film to watch by yourself, since it isn’t much of a thinking-man’s (or -woman’s) film. It doesn’t have the zombies that Shaun does, but it is equally well done and equally entertaining. This is leaps and bounds better than anything I’ve seen recently. Thank you Minneapolis Film Festival for bringing this film to my attention. Well played.
…Also, never trust a guy named Chad when he’s carrying an axe in the woods… just sayin’…
Spoiler alert!!! All of the trailers for this film basically show the entire film and spoil all of the hilarious scenes. If you can get away with NOT seeing a trailer for this film, you’ll do yourself a favor seeing the film absolutely unknowing. That being said, here is the trailer…
(5 out of 5 fus)