Review – Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Horror comedies are like arranged marriages. The pairing is unnatural, but there is that one in a million chance that it might work out, and when it does, it’s brilliant. Films that have managed to succeed include ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Evil Dead 2’. ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’ gets stuck halfway on the path to greatness, despite its clever twist on the hillbilly slasher genre.

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are kindhearted hillbillies, who are spending some quality time at a cabin in the woods. When a group of college students camping nearby assume the two are chainsaw-wielding, inbred killers, the duo’s holiday turns into a nightmare.

From the start ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’ flips every slasher cliché on its head. All the staples are present: horny teenagers, a creepy cabin in the woods and two slack-jawed yokels. The big surprise, though, is when director Eli Craig takes the path less travelled, making Tucker and Dale the good guys. It’s a clever twist and the story plays to those strengths every step of the way.

Tudyk and Labine are likeable as the leads, and the supporting cast of twenty-something’s fit their dumb teenager roles well and parody slasher film stereotypes.

The makeup effects are great and it’s refreshing to see a practical approach as opposed to digital blood and gore. It’s a fitting tribute to the films that set the splatter standard such as ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’.

‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’ becomes stuck when it gets repetitive and there is an episodic way in which each character gets knocked off. The parody is not consistent enough and the film starts to take itself too seriously, especially when they introduce a love interest.

Fans of slasher films will get a real kick out of ‘Tucker and Dales vs. Evil’ for its originality and the way it works as a tribute. It’s a strong launching pad for Craig as a director, as he channels his inner Sam Raimi.

2.5/5

‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’ hits DVD and Blu-Ray in Australia on 5 October 2011.

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