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Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil Is Brilliant Reverse Horror

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
Directed by Eli Craig
Written by Craig and Morgan Jurgenson
Magnet Releasing, 2011

Redneck horror is a sub-genre that has pretty much run its course.  Privileged kids come out into the woods, out of their element, get slaughtered by hillbillies.  It looks like someone is finally put their hands on their hips and said, “Wait a minute.  Aren’t we just practicing some other kind of racism here?”  The idea is that rednecks are no longer human anymore.  They kill because they’re dumb rednecks that can’t be reasoned with.  They have no thoughts, no remorse, and probably voted for George W. Bush.

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil takes the redneck horror premise and instills all of those prejudices into the normal, partying rich kids that always get killed in these movies.  Only the protagonists are the rednecks this time, and there’s a big misunderstanding.  Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Reaper’s Tyler Labine) are going on vacation to their summer home out in the woods.  It’s a real hermit’s dive, needing a lot of fixing, but it’s paradise for Tucker and Dale.  They go out fishing one night, and happen upon all the privileged kids going skinny dipping.  One of them, Ally (30 Rock’s smokin’ hot intern, Katrina Bowden), falls into the water after seeing the two spy on her undressing, hits her head and goes unconscious.  Ally’s friends, from afar, see Tucker and Dale grab her and put her in their boat, and suddenly construct the idea that they’ve kidnapped her and plan to kill her.

So, this is how the movie goes.  In the attempt to rescue Ally, they further construct even more outrageous fictions in their head about the two rednecks, and it doesn’t help that several of the kids end up accidentally dead, seen out of context by the survivors.  One of the friends in particular, Chad (Jesse Moss), is taking this a little too far, psychologically.  He’s definitely got a screw loose.  Meanwhile, as Ally recovers, she and Dale start to become friends, and improbably, maybe more.

Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are perfect in this.  Yes, they’re rednecks, but not insultingly stupid rednecks.  Maybe a little dumb, but with at least some smarts.  Labine in particular has a role that could have gone wrong at any time, but his expressions and reactions are priceless.  There are some good lines, and it’s pretty amusing throughout.  It’s entirely unlikely, and it seems like a lot of this could have just been stopped (it’s a little off in its timing; it seems like Ally herself could end all this quickly if she’d just speak up), but as movie plots go, we don’t want it to end like that, obviously.  We want to see these stupid kids keep dying in ridiculous ways, and seeing how Tucker and Dale react to it.

This is a fun movie.  I think it will do well when it goes to video.

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