“Evil just messed with the wrong hillbillies.”
Man… it seems like I’ve been waiting forever on this one. Having first premiered last year, Eli Craig’s Tucker & Dale vs Evil has taken what seems like an eternity to arrive, but I’m happy to say the wait was well worth it and provides yet another reason why Magnet Releasing is so damned awesome!
You might remember that last week we interviewed Director Eli Craig about the film, which was just released on VOD. During that interview, Craig discussed how his experience as an Outward Bound Instructor helped to inspire the set-up for the film which turns the horror genre on its ear by pitting two best friends Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) who just happen to be taking a vacation at their new cabin in the woods against a bunch of stereotypical teenagers led by Chad, a typical fratboy who also happens to have “slasher” DNA in his veins… literally.
A few misunderstandings later, including the unintentional “kidnapping” of the film’s lead female (Allison) and Chad quickly descends into a bloodthirsty vigilante with an ax while Tucker and Dale try desperately to figure out just why all of these teens are so eager to kill themselves on their property. It’s fun to watch unfold, but even funnier in just how ludicrous (yet mostly plausible) each death happens to take place.
What the film does best is taking both the backwoods horror genre (Wrong Turn, The Hills Have Eyes) and the predestination death theme of the Final Destination films and play them for 3 Stooges style of comedy. In many respects, Tucker and Dale vs Evil marks the first true return to “splatstick” since Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2. Craig takes what could have been a 30-minute short film and turns it into an entertaining feature film full of misdirection and mutilation. The special fx team deserves bonus points for that second part as there’s virtually no CGI used.
Tudyk and Labine makes for two of the most likeable hillbillies ever depicted on screen, both fragile and kind-hearted while still appearing to the other cast members as deranged psycho killers. Being only slightly familiar with Labine from the tv show, Reaper, I was surprised just how many supporting roles both actors have portrayed over the years and I’m even more interested in seeing what they do in the next year or so.