Day Two: Tucker & Dale vs Evil

Happy Halloween Countdown Day Two Tucker & Dale vs Evil

Murderous rednecks: it’s almost a subgenre all to itself.  Heck, Rob Zombie has made an entire career of that particular theme.  There are, by and large, only two flavors of killer hillbilly movies;  the dumbass college kids stumble across a nest of psychotic rednecks  or a family of murdering inbreds roam the rural highways of America looking for college kids to prey upon. Yawn.  In my opinion, this side of Deliverance, Tobe Hooper did everything interesting that could to be done  with the family of killer rubes shtick that could be done . . . until Tucker & Dale vs Evil.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil takes homicidal yokel trope and turns it sideways. Tucker is country boy who dreams of being upwardly mobile, which to him means buying a small shack in the woods and fixing it up into a “vacation home.”  His friend Dale is red neck teddy bear.  He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and pretty much follows Dale out of friendship.   While fixing up Tucker’s dilapidated “vacation home” they have an unfortunate encounter with a group of party minded college kids resulting in bloody mayhem.

The horror part of this horror comedy lay in the twist of circumstance.  The frat rats and their girlfriends believe that Tucker and Dale are homicidal madmen intent on torturing and killing them one by one. It would have been easy for Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson to take a mean spirited approach to both the horror and the comedy of the film.  I’m glad they didn’t.  Tucker and Dale are both rather likable characters.  The dumbass college kids are pretty played as straight up machete chow.  The action plays out like a gruesome Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

Though not a fan of the hillbilly horror genre, I thought Tucker & Dale vs Evil was a lot of fun.  I wonder why this didn’t get picked up for wide release.  There was a bit of buzz in the horror fan community about the film, but outside of the circle of horror bloggers and podcasters, it didn’t seem to get much attention. I wasn’t able to catch it until it found its way to Netflix Instant.  It really deserved better than that.



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Eli Craig

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