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Tucker and Dale Versus Evil Film Review
Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjoes
There's a doozy of a pile of spoilers round these here parts. Metric crapton of 'em. Yessir. I mean more spoilers than you can shake a snakebashin' pin at, so if y'all don't want to know how the movin' picture show Tucker and Dale Versus Evil pans out, just keep on awalkin'.
Gettin' 'er Done. The Summary.
'Member all them horror films 'bout a bunch'a hillbillies livin' up in the woods, mindin' they own business, when a mess 'a rich pretty white folk head on up to trash the place and screw around? And just 'cause them hillfolk ain't educated, everyone and their ma makes 'em out to be evil, doin' all manner'a despicable deviltry to them soft cityslickers?
Well, Tucker and Dale Versus Evil is the honest-to-God truth, told by rightminded mother's sons out to show all the blood and guts was just one dilly of a misunderstanding after the next.
I personally can't stand them college-read fangled titles, so this one pops out at you right from the get go.
Hell, that's all you need to know right there. See, Tucker (Alan Tudyk)—who was really that fella from that movie Firefly, even though he changed his name you could still tell—he and his best buddy Dale (Tyler Labine) head up to the Smoky Mountains to fix up this ole fishin' cabin that Tucker got dang cheap. Guess it was dry rot. Looked purty nice to me. Even came with its own huntin' trophies. Anyways, they're toolin' along in Tucker's old Chevy when they pass a bunch of college kids in this bright an' shiny new SUV.
The college kids figure Tucker and Dale are just a couple'a psycho sister-screwin' hillbillies like them Hollywood bastards show in the dang movies, and they get in for a real scare when they stop off at this beat-up general store for gas and beer. Dale's a bit of a shy one, y'see. And when he and Tucker stop off for supplies, Tucker puts him up to tryin' for a bit of a chat with this purty little blond thing name a' Allie (Katrina Bowden). Not ready to go a'courtin', but dang close, y'see. Well, he's so nervous he forgets he's holding a scythe, and he's got a habit of laughing like one a' them African hyenas when he's nervous.
You can guess Allie and the other kids skedaddled when big ole Dale walks up with this wicked looking slingblade, laughing his fool head off. Well, folks, that was the beginning a' the end right there. Cause when they went their separate ways, you know sure as skeeters at sunset they were gonna run afoul one another.
Dale and Tucker get to their cabin, settle in, then head out to do some fishin'. The kids start drinkin', then decide to cool off in the creek. One a' them catches sight a' Tucker and Dale, screams cause she's in her underdrawers, and falls off a rock into the water, knockin' herself just as senseless as a resealable cap on a beer bottle. Dale dives in after her, pulls her out, and hucks her into their rowboat. Tucker calls out to the kids that they get their friend, but the kids figure the girl's just been kidnapped and run like the last one out of the water is gonna go ten rounds with a cougar in heat—the four-legged kind.
The girl's knocked cold. Turns out it's Allie. When she wakes up the next morning, she's got no idea where she is and she's scared to all Hell. Meanwhile, her friends are getting ready to rescue her. Chad(Jesse Moss) is this scrubby little puke thinks he's gonna be a hero if he goes in and saves her, and since the others don't got no spines of their own, they follow orders.
So they attack while Tucker's busy clearing the yard by hucking trash into an industrial-size woodchipper he rented special. Kid comes charging up behind him with a knife, Tucker bends down to pick up a log, kid trips, goodbye deposit on the woodchipper. Meanwhile, Allie and Dale have been getting close, so she's helpin' him dig a hole for the outhouse they're gonna build. When the college kids attack, Dale brains Allie with a shovel accidental like. She goes down again, so Dale turns away from this kid coming at him with a sharpened stake. Kid trips, stake pins into the dirt, kid falls onto the stake. Now all you need's a few charcoal briquettes to have yourself a spit roast.
The rest of the kids run like hell cause they figure Tucker and Dale did it all. Misunderstandin's, just like I said. So Tucker and Dale are terrified, wondering why college kids are showing up and killing themselves left and right. They get Allie back into the cabin and make her comfortable, then they start trying to clean up the bodies, thinkin' maybe these crazy college kids want to kill Allie too. No way in hell is a sheriff gonna believe them, so they don't know what to do.
That's when the sheriff one of the college kids went for comes calling with a couple of the blood-soaked survivors in the backseat. Tucker and Dale have just got done pulling half of a kid outta the woodchipper, and they're covered of what's left of him, which ain't exactly likely to make the sheriff believe them. He hears there's an unconscious girl in their cabin, and heads in to check things out.
And that's when Tucker and Dale learn why the cabin was so cheap. Dryrot, like I said. A beam gives as the sheriff leans on it, and he takes a bolt-covered ceiling stud through the face. Somehow, he's still standing for a bit and staggers back to the car for help, but with a couple rusty bolts through his noggin, he finally drops like a sack of potatoes.
One a' the kids grabs the sheriff's pistol and starts trying to shoot at our heroes. Problem is the safety's still on. Dale tells him that before Tucker can stop him. The kid fiddles with it, looking down the barrel, and when the safety finally comes off, so's the top of the kid's head. Gun safety, people. Teach 'em young so they only kill the people they mean to.
After that, it's one a' them Mexican standoffs. Chad grabs himself that pistol and starts ashootin' at the cabin. The boys keep their heads down until they realize Dale's ole smellhound is missin'. Chad's taken it hostage. So Tucker gets a nailgun they been using for repairs, hands it to Dale to cover him, and heads out the back to save the dog.
Don't work, of course. Damn fool gets himself captured over a toothless hound-dog. Chad and the rest go off to torture Tucker. And when Allie finally wakes up, Dale's near to tears cause none of this makes sense.
Allie's a good girl, but not what you call smart. So Dale goes and picks up Tucker, whose had his bowling fingers cut off. And then Chad walks in to the cabin. She gets them all to sit down, not knowin' Chad has got the rest of his people waiting to attack when everyone's guard's down. Chad talks about how much he hates hillbillies, how his folks got attacked by 'em back a'fore he was born. His mama got away, but his daddy didn't. And he blames all hillbillies for what they done.
Dale can't even hurt a fish. And besides, he was about two when that happened. So he apologizes for how awful that must'a been, but says he had nothing to do with it and don't see why he should be treated like a monster for it.
Well, there's some name-calling involved, but things go belly-up when the rest of the college kids attack, break up a bunch'a bottles a' moonshine Dale and Tucker had been saving for later, and with a spark the place goes up like a firecracker.
Dale, Tucker, Allie, and the smellhound get out alright. Chad survives, but he's burned bad and gone bonkers. So, to make a long story short, Tucker ends up beat all to hell and Chad has kidnapped Allie, tying her to a log at the abandoned sawmill up the road a ways. He's gonna kill her cause she likes hillbillies and made friends with Dale while they were in the cabin together.
There's a big fight scene with a chainsaw and tree-climbing cleats. Then, when Dale and Allie barricade themselves up in the foreman's office, they find old newspaper clippings that prove Chad's real father was the hillbilly that done that massacre twenty years back. When faced with finding he's half hillbilly, Chad won't believe it and goes at them with an axe. Dale uses some old teabags with chamomile in them to cause an asthma attack in Chad. Chad fumbles for his inhaler and goes tumbling out a second-story window.
And that's purty much the end of it. Living proof that hillbillies should be judged as individuals instead of bein' lumped together.
Poof! 10 More Years of Education Magically Appear!
Okay, I'm sorry, I just can't offer a decent analysis while sticking to a limited vocabulary. It's just not in me. Tucker and Dale Versus Evil is a tongue-in-cheek black comedy turning the traditional theme of killer hillbillies on its head. It comes off as frivolous, but the underlying message speaking out against judging a person based on what he is as opposed to who he is is poignant.
Budget-wise, this film didn't cost much to make, but it employs rock-solid writing that ties up all the loose ends once all's said and done. It's minimalist, but not in a fashion that suggests anything is missing. If it's presented on camera, it will be of use eventually, and I can't help but admire such resourcefulness and planning. That ingenuity and attention to detail is rare when compared to the action-packed explosion extravaganzas that typically grace the silver screen.
The gore is only placed where necessary and in most cases is placed tastefully off-camera. There's very little profanity, no nudity, and yet at the same time it's quite clear this is an homage to the campy 80s horror slashers that had you rooting for the bad guy.
Chad's belief that Tucker and Dale were evil personified was scary in and of itself. I got shivers watching him where the likes of Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger have never bothered me in the slightest. And that's probably due to the fact thatChadthought he was the hero, like in all the stereotypical horror films of the day. Except he had no enemies. And so he was attacking people that were utterly innocent, thinking himself righteous. What this does is show to the viewer that the only difference between a hero and a villain in horror is justification. The villain commits despicable acts because he wants to. The hero commits despicable acts in order to retaliate against the villain. Herein we find that evil begets evil, and that it's perfectly acceptable to go on a killing spree provided you can establish yourself as the good guys. Just about any military action on the planet is proof of that.
"We commit this atrocity because you committed that atrocity. And since we say your atrocity was unwarranted, that makes us the good guys and gives us leave to massacre whomever we wish."
It's a bit wordy for a battle cry, but since soldiers by definition have little choice in who they fight, it's more likely this sort of sliding scale morality would appeal to a politician.
The one thing that bothered me about this film is the fact that it got so little press coverage. And that in turn seems to have destroyed its chances at the box office. Playing nationwide, it didn't even clear 2 million dollars its first weekend. And, what with the carefully planned, tight plotting and storytelling involved, that's a damn crime.
Folks, I will rarely do this, which should tell you how well I think of this film. Go out and see it. Buy it on DVD. Keep it in your video library. For once, don't scull out into the waters of Pirate Bay, no matter how tempting it sounds. These people deserve recognition and reward for their accomplishment here.