Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil screens at the Toronto Underground Cinema on Thursday, August 18th at 9:30pm as part of Rue Morgue's Cinemacabre Movie Nights. Catch a new entry from the guys at Rue Morgue every third Thursday of the month!

The oft delayed 2010 film Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil might be a film that genre audiences have waited a long time to see come to the big screen, but this Canadian production is more than worth the wait. The film is the perfect blend of gore and laugh out loud hilarity. Few films this year might be more crowd pleasing, with smart writing and winning performances across the board.

In the Appalachia backwoods of West Virginia, kind and good natured hillbillies Tucker (Firefly's Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Reaper's Tyler Labine) just want to have a relaxing weekend fixing up Tucker's newly bought vacation home. When a group of college frat douchebags decide to camp out in the same area (one described by the local sheriff as having "pain and suffering beyond what you can imagine"), a series of misunderstandings lead to them thinking Tucker and Dale have kidnapped their friend Alison (30 Rock's Katrina Bowden) and killed some of their friends.

Structurally speaking, the film is absolutely brilliant in every way. Details are given only a little bit at a time to show exactly what is going on. This is a film with a lot of twists, but the twists always work because Tucker and Dale are so totally likable as human beings that you never want to see any harm come to them. They might not be the smartest characters to grace the silver screen this year, but they are wittier than anything else in the horror genre this year.

The film also boasts the best villain of any horror film in the past five years. The leader of the "concerned friends", named Chad (and played by Jesse Moss in a remarkable performance) is the ultimate worst nightmare. A man with a mean streak with a constantly popped collar who thinks he works for what is righteous. That's not to say that Tudyk, Labine, and the rest of the cast don't hold their own. Labine especially gets to shine as a character with low self-esteem, a great memory, and a huge heart that makes you just want to hug him. Dale's crush on Alison is remarkably sweet and realistic, lending to the movie's huge heart. As the titular characters, Labine and Tudyk are the best on-screen duo of the year.

Director and co-writer Eli Craig has created a film that is almost the inverse of the Scream franchise. It is a world where self-reflexivity and thinking everything is out to kill you could actually work against you. The overthinking of the college students is laid bare when Alison tells Dale that there is a difference between education and intellect. It isn't really scary, but it is intensely creepy and intensely funny. This is a film that deserves to be seen with a crowd who will likely be laughing, booing and cheering everything that happens. It has more heart and soul than a thousand Final Destinations and almost as many brains as the original Scream. Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil really is that damn good.

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