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September 28, 2012

Movie Review: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2011, Blu-ray)

The hillbilly and redneck/backwoods horror subgenre has been around for literaly decades. Deliverance is a good choice, but you can go as far back as the 1960's when HG Lewis and David Friedman brought us the original 2000 Maniacs. Since then there have been numerous entries (both good and bad) that include - Don't Go In the Woods, The Final Terror, Just Before Dawn, The Forest and most recently the Wrong Turn series. Much of what these films thrive on is for us to fear a dirty fellow in overalls. This is precisely why Eli Craig's comedy/horror film Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil works.

Tucker (Alan Tudyk, A Knights Tale) and his portly pal Dale (Tyler Labine, Zach and Miri Make a Porno) are a couple harmless good ol' boys looking to head off into the woods where they can fish and catch some r&r in their rundown cabin. At the same time a group of cliche "horror movie" kids are in route for there own kind of fun. During a swim in a close by lake, one of the girls from the group smacks her head on a rock and nearly drowns. Tucker and Dale come to her aid while in their fishing boat but what looks like a rescue up close is percieved as eating the woman's face by her friends across the lake. The kids are now frantic, Tucker and Dale are oblivious to all of it.

In a way the Tucker and Dale charachters are glorified red herrings, accept the audience is in on the secret. Not before long you'll be cheering on these mindless college kids to die in the variety of ways we get to see them perish. The violence is over-the-top but never mean-spirited that it takes away from the laughs. There's a great scene involving a bumbling cop who dies in one of the better "accidental" deaths in the film. The laughs are definitely consistent and Tucker and Dale never lose their likabilty. Tudyk and Labine should return in a sequel, they're that enjoyable to watch.

Magnet Releasing has provided a generous amount of extras for the release: An audio commentary with Eli Craig, Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine is an optional audio track, a making-of featurette, Tucker and Dale ARE Evil: The College Kids' Point of View featurette, Outtakes, Storyboards, an HD Net look at Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and the original theatrical trailer. The commentary is fun by the three gentleman and turns out to be a nice listen as Craig does a lot of patting on the back of his two stars in regards to their performances. It's definitely worth a listen. Tucker and Dale ARE Evil: The College Kids' Point of View is an interesting feature just not all that exciting. It basically just showcases the angles the college kids caught to jilt their perception against the boys.

In numerous reviews and articles I've seen Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil brought up in the same company of a few more recent films that successfully blended comedy and horror, Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. The only real difference here for this viewer is that it's better than both. Highly Recommended!

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