TUCKER & DALE vs. EVIL (2011)
written by: Eli Craig & Morgan Jurgenson
produced by: Morgan Jurgenson, Albert Klychak, Rosanne Milliken & Deepak Nayar
directed by: Eli Craig
rating: R (for bloody horror violence, language and brief nudity)
runtime: 88 min.
U.S. release date: January 22, 2010 (Sundance Film Festival), March 10, 2010 (SXSW Film Festival), August 30, 2011 (VOD, iTunes, ZUNE), September 30, 2011 (select limited theaters) & October 7, 2011 (at Music Box Theatre in Chicago, IL)
Later on that night, Tucker and Dale find themselves fishing near “those college kids” (as Tucker calls them), unbeknownst to the skinny-dipping gang. The next thing they know, the two find themselves rescuing an injured and unconscious Allison and taking her back to their cabin, an action that has her friends assuming she’s been kidnapped by psycho hillbillies. Dale solidifies his crush on a confused Allison as he tends to her head injury, while Tucker tries to locate her friends to let them know what happened. What transpires is a series of misfortune deaths as the kids wage war on the clueless pair, perpetuated by unfortunate misconceptions.
For a relatively simple plot, there sure is quite a bit to take in and enjoy here. Co-writer/director Eli Craig (son of Sally Field) excels at establishing the characters early on, playing to our own built-in stereotypes of these roles. It’s possible to go along and believe something is off about the titular friends, but thanks to a clever script and some fine performances, we see them as more than just white trash.
The success of a movie like this rests on the talent of the two leads. Tudyk (“Serenity”) and Labine (TV’s “Reaper”) bring a comfortable ease to their lovable roles. These are actors who’ve been in bigger movies this past summer, Tudyk was in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” had Labine, both providing two very different supporting roles, which only proves their versatility. So, it’s a joy to see these two carry a smaller film with their effortless comedic chops (Tucker dousing his wounds in beer, for example) and charismatic presence (Dale could actually get the girl and become a hero).
If this sounds like something you’d check out, you’d do well to skip the trailer and just seek it out. Although, I usually prefer to see movies just stand on their own, I’ll make an exception here and say that seeing more “Tucker & Dale” misadventures would be a hoot.