Horror parodies are very difficult to do. Most of them end up being either too funny or too scary and result with a movie that is pretty much pointless and stupid. However, there are rare cases when a horror parody is done right, making for an intelligent and funny satire on the horror genre. The 2010 film, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, is one of those films that cleverly captures the essence of a backwoods horror, while simultaneously poking fun at it and making you laugh.
The film stars Alan Tudyk (Tucker) and Tyler Labine (Dale), as two southern best friends who just purchased a “vacation home” in the woods. While en route to their cabin they cross paths with a group of stuck up preppy college kids who mistakenly take them for crazy hillbillies. However, Tucker and Dale are far from crazy hillbillies; in fact, they are actually really sweet and compassionate men.
While the two buddies are fishing later on that night they witness one of the college kids, Allison (played by the gorgeous Katrina Bowden), fall into the lake and hit her head. Dale, being the sweetheart that he is, jumps in and rescues her. However, Allison’s clueless friends make the assumption that the two men are kidnapping her and all hell soon ensues.
Tucker and Dale are completely oblivious to the preppy kids’s thinking and take Allison back to their cabin to recover. All the while, Allison awakens and learns that she was quick to judge the twosome and slowly starts to fall for Dale. Meanwhile, the group gather round and tell super douche, Chad (Jesse Moss), what has happened–even going as far to insist that one of the men was eating her face–resulting in a plan to take the hillbillies down.
What follows this is nonstop laughter, entertainment and gore. Chad, an asshole with a vendetta against hillbillies, tells the group that they must fight back or they will die. So, the dumb college kids “fight back”, even though they weren’t being fought in the first place, and end up killing themselves one by one. There is a hilarious scene involving a wood-chipper which in my opinion, is one of the highlights from the film.
When Tucker and Dale realize that the kids are dying all around them they assume that they came to the woods as a part of a suicide pact. The miscommunications and misinterpretations between the two groups makes for an interesting watch because of the outcomes that it has; i.e. the kids brutally and accidentally kill themselves and each other rather than Tucker and Dale, who never lift a finger to cause harm.
Towards the end of the movie, Chad’s back-story is revealed to the two friends: His mother, along with her friends, had been hunted and killed by hillbillies in that very location twenty years before, which was why Chad brought his group of friends there initially. The way his story is delivered and received is a funny scene, because as horror fans all know–there’s always a sad back-story that explains the “villain’s” actions. The reason is also an intentionally ridiculous and poor excuse for the film’s plot.
This film reminded me a lot of 2004’s zombie parody, Shaun of the Dead, especially due to the friendship between the two characters. Although Tucker and Dale is good, it does not surpass Shaun of the Dead, which is probably one of the best horror parodies ever made. But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good movie!
The movie is a must-see for fans of the genre because they can really appreciate the humor and cliche references made throughout the film. Tudyk and Labine have amazing chemistry together and they play the clueless-yet-loveable duo that you root for the entire movie so well. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of this pair together in future horror projects. Tucker and Dale 2, perhaps? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.