x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Tucker and Dale vs Evil: an amusing horror comedy

The film deserves recognition for imaginatively spoofing the slasher model and for its delightfully unique central duo.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
***

Hillbillies have always had a bum rap in the movies. From serious fare such as Deliverance, to the outright horrors The Hills Have Eyes and I Spit on Your Grave, rednecks are responsible time and again for bringing the fight to "them rich city folk" in the cruellest of ways, but are ultimately undone by their own stupidity and prejudice.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil turns this very idea on its head, in an amusing (though rarely laugh-out-loud) horror comedy. It sees the titular pair of dungaree-wearing country boys (Labine and Tudyk) heading into the forest at the same time as a group of amped-up college kids.

Despite being nothing more than big-hearted bush buddies intent on renovating a tumbledown cabin (that is brilliantly reminiscent of the Evil Dead's setting), a series of misunderstandings lead to the pair being mistaken for deranged killers. Believing they are merely defending themselves, the college kids wage war on Tucker and Dale, but this time it's the polo shirt-wearing frat boys who are undone by stupidity.

Amid all the severed limbs and splatter, the film attempts to convey a schmaltzy message about class prejudice and the need for mutual consideration. Unfortunately, this merely gets in the way of a great opportunity for the kind of blacker-than-black humour and over-the-top gore that's found in the best horror comedies. Despite its limitations, the film deserves recognition for imaginatively spoofing the slasher model and for its delightfully unique central duo.