Big Awful Friday: 'Tucker and Dale vs. Evil' an instant cult classic

Ed Robertson, atomictown.comDecember 6, 2012 

Subgenres are a funny thing. If you just finished Twilight, you might have set down the last book and thought, "Well, she's said all there is to be said about the sexy young human woman forced to choose between two equally sexy undead dudes."

And then your bookshelf would shatter under the strain, crushing you in a tidal wave of YA paranormal.

For the right fans, some setups never get old. For instance, in 2010, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil sent up the cliches of sadistic backwoods killers--and did absolutely nothing to slow the subgenre down.

Country boys Alan Tudyk and Taylor Labine head out to the woods to fix up a remote lake house. While there, they run into a gang of partying college kids, and a string of misunderstandings and gruesome accidents leaves the police convinced the pair are a couple of psychotic killers.

In other words, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a reverse slasher movie, one where the ostensible murderous maniacs are a couple of sweet rednecks who just happen to own a variety of woodchippers, nail guns, and chainsaws. That the easily-panicked college kids just can't stop getting shredded, hacked, and impaled by. Very quickly, it becomes something of a live-action Looney Toons segment. One where Chuck Jones just hated Wile E. Coyote.

Except in this world, the coyote is probably college student Jesse Moss.

Unhinged by his past, he immediately leaps to the conclusion they're under attack by deranged hillbillies. His mad conviction helps defray the obvious question: why don't Labine and Tudyk stop for a second to explain the whole thing is merely a big, bloody misunderstanding?

It's a concept that requires a lot of creativity from writer/director Eli Craig and cowriter Morgan Jurgenson. They are more than up to the task. Deploying a combination of gags and legitimate storytelling, they keep the plot moving without making it feel like a one-note joke.

And Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a lot more than a clever concept with a stupid title. The friendship between the two rednecks is warm and offbeat, it's got a couple good twists, and it's terribly funny. In fact, as a horror-comedy with a Firefly alum lead, it's hard not to think of the also-awesome Slither.

In fact, if you're a fan of slasher movies, it might be even better.

Witty and fun, Tucker and Dale was destined to become a new cult classic from the moment it hit theaters.

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