Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tucker and Dale versus Evil review

    "Oh hidy ho officer, we've had a doozy of a day. There we were minding our own business, just doing chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property."

    Special thanks to Michael Grimm for recommending this movie to me.

    Tucker and Dale versus Evil is a delightful subversion of a very tired and overused premise in slasher fiction. Basically, a pair of hillbillies are menaced by college students in the middle of the woods. It's not quite a straight reversal, which might have been just as good but a send-up of the entire genre. Our heroes are menaced by the college students precisely because the later have seen a ridiculous number of hillbilly horror movies. It's a movie about cultural differences and tolerance.

    Eh, who am I kidding. It's a movie about the outlandish humor to be had in two well-meaning fellas accidentally passing themselves off as the kind of psychotic killers usually found themselves in these movies. The college students aren't actually psychopaths, well maybe one is, but an increasingly unlikely set of circumstances leaves an ever-increasing set of bodies around our heroes.

    While not actually filmed in the wilds of Appalachia, where I live, the replication of the mountain worldview is almost perfect. Poor Tucker and Dale come off very much like many of the people I've grown up around: well-meaning, outdoorsy, limited education but lots of practical skills and real-world experience.

    Appalachians (or "Mountain folk"), which is the correct term for the people who live in the area around the Appalachian mountains, are frequently the subject of a lot of causal prejudice. We live in an area which has been amongst the poorest and most underdeveloped of the United States since, well, forever. So it's nice to see something from a differing perspective than Mountain Folk are deranged inbred psycho-killer cannibals. We're like two out of those four, at most.

    Horror fans will get an especial kick out of this movie as there are a ridiculous number of homages spread throughout the story. I counted at least eight to the Friday the Thirteenth franchise alone. There's also ones to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and probably others I don't recognize. There's also a virtually unrecognizable Alan Tudyk as Tucker.

     The comedy is silly, not much more intelligent than your typical television fair, but is helped by the freshness of the material. The deaths are played for slapstick as opposed to horror and are frequently hilarious. I also came to enjoy the romance between Dale and Allison. They're sweet and equally dumb in their own ways.

    In conclusion, I highly recommend Tucker And Dale Versus Evil. It is a silly-silly movie and exactly the sort of cure for the evening blahs we should all have. My wife, who is pathologically afraid of all horror films, loved it. That, alone, should tell you it's good.


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