Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Get your your chainsaws and let the cliches run rampant, we're reviewing Tucker and Dale vs. Evil!

This is greatly inspired by the amazing artwork of Mr. Dan Hipp.

When I saw this it was in the smallest theater I've ever been to. Each row had only 5 seats and I'm pretty sure there were only 50 seats max in the entire room. It was more like a large home entertainment center than a small screen.  It was dirty and cramped. I say all this because even after all that, I was still completely sucked into the movie. It's a shame it's not getting a wider release because it's just all kinds of funny and awesome. Minor spoilers ahead.

Tucker(Alan Tudyk) and Dale(Tyler Labine) are just too simple guys going out into the woods to fix up Tucker's new vacation house. When a group of generically cliche college kids also go out to the woods to party, events start to unfold where they believe Tucker and Dale to be murderous hillbillies. Tucker and Dale, on the other hand, are completely clueless as to why these college kids are randomly killing themselves in the most gruesome ways possible!  Hilarity ensues.

The main premise is one that's rarely been considered in film. What if the murderous psychos aren't really murderers at all and it's just one big misunderstanding?  It works incredibly well and it's hilarious how wrong the kids take it.  But it also provides a good message of "don't judge a book by its cover". That may seem like a played out message, but considering how may different horror/slasher movies have come out telling you which people not to trust(hillbillies, doctors, oddball neighbors, quiet kids, cheerleaders, children, your loved ones, basically everyone including yourself), it's refreshing for a movie to come along and say, "Hey, that guy you think is creepy might not be all that bad." We should be talking to people instead of judging them prematurely!

The overall story might be a little cliche, but it works. All the kids fit the standard horror cliche roles, and you just can't wait for them to be killed off(and boy, do they ever get killed off.  Like lemmings they are!). It's really nice because these are usually the characters we're supposed to feel something for, but we end up feeling alot more for the lovable Tucker and Dale.  Tucker just wants to see his dream of having a vacation home, and Dale just wants to talk to a pretty girl.  Dawww, you guys!

Being this is a horror comedy, I didn't expect the action to be so good.  It's silly, gory, and at times, totally badass. They have scenes involved with chainsaws, wood cutters, machetes, throwing axes, a cool "ash becoming a badass" scene, and even a scene at a classic sawmill! Suffice it to say it's very satisfying in the killing department.

If you needed a quick Alan Tudyk fix, look no further. I've been going through Tudyk withdrawal ever since Transformers 3 left me unsatisfied. Really it turns out to be more Dale's movie, and I wish there was more Tudyk, but I'll take all the Tudyk I can get dammit! In fact, one of the downsides for the story for me is that Tucker really gets shafted in this movie. A lot. At the end of it, I'm just thinking "Aww poor Alan Tudyk I mean Tucker..."

What I love are the little details of the movie. In one scene one of the college kids makes an silly comment, which at the time is just a funny little gag.  But then later it turns into a major plot point! It's just very smart like that. The script is pretty tight, and it nicely ties in all loose ends.  I do have to warn people in that there's a sappy romance element throughout, but considering it feels like she's falling in love with the big dumb guy everyone else thinks is a murderous psychopath, I can't help but like it.

Can't really say there's anything special for the cinematography or the soundtrack, but the way the very first scene plays is a bit interesting. It could have easily been the last scene, or even the after-credits scene like any other movie, but instead it's the first image we see. I'm not saying it's bad, it's just an interesting design choice, and sets up the rest of the movie with, "well what the hell is going on and how the hell did we get here?"

THE GOOD: great new take on horror movie, funny and action-packed, ALAN TUDYK!
THE BAD: Not as much Alan Tudyk as I would have liked, not for the faint of heart.
OVERALL: It's a fun movie with a good message and satisfying action and humor.  Highly recommended for horror and Tudyk fans alike. See it while it's still out where you can!
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: In one of the first scenes we really meet Tucker and Dale, Dale want's to talk to one of the pretty college girls, but he gets nervous. Tucker pushes him into it saying just to smile and laugh.  The college kids get to see a large Hillbilly trying to talk to him, while he's nonchalantly holding a giant scythe and laughing al the while. It's hilarious to see what they think of him, and easy to see what horror movies have done to out perceptions of people.

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