Review: Tucker and Dale versus Evil (2010 movie)

A group of college students go to the woods for a weekend and encounter a couple of strange and menacing hillbillies, or so they think. Actually the hillbillies are nice guys who just manage not to make a good first impression. Or second ones.

When the students go skinny-dipping the first night, one of them, the Good Girl of the group, knocks herself out falling off a high rock into the water. Tucker and Dale are night-fishing nearby and rescue her, but when one yells, “We got yer friend!” it’s not taken as intended, especially since the other guy is giving her mouth-to-mouth and in the dark it looks like he’s eating her face. The students flee in a panic, convinced their friend is dead.

An aside: In these movies there’s traditionally a Bad Girl and a Good Girl. According to the director, the actress playing the Bad Girl was reluctant to go topless in the skinny-dipping scene (I believe they may have resorted to stunt breasts), while it was a constant struggle to get the gorgeous Good Girl actress (Katrina Bowden, woo woo!) to keep her clothes on. I really need to get into filmmaking. I think this sort of situation would make good use of my problem-solving skills.

Anyway, the next morning the injured girl wakes up in a room she doesn’t recognize, and when the door opens and Dale, who looks vaguely like Larry the Cable Guy, enters carrying a tray, she cringes in terror.

“Oh!” says a visibly upset Dale. “It’s the pancakes. You hate pancakes! I’ll go make you somethin else!”

In the meantime the other students are reconnoitering the cabin, having decided overnight that it’s possible their friend might still be alive after all. One reluctantly volunteers to negotiate with the hillbillies and starts cautiously making his way across the clearing that constitutes the front yard of the dilapidated cabin, or vacation home as Tucker and Dale call it.

Unfortunately, Tucker (Alan Tudyk, the spaceship’s pilot on Firefly) is at that moment behind the cabin getting ready to cut up some fallen trees with a chainsaw, and the first one he cuts into just happens to contain a bee hive. So as the student is about halfway across the clearing, Tucker comes running around the cabin, turning in circles, yelling like a madman, and waving a running, smoking chainsaw. The student turns and flees at top speed, only to be passed by Tucker and his associated cloud of bees.

Perhaps I should mention for sake of clarity that this is a comedy. I should probably add that it’s a rather dark one, with a lot of people getting killed, albeit in silly ways, like a series of Wile E. Coyotes that don’t survive their mishaps. And there’s also real evil afoot, in the form of one of the students, a sort of Young Mitt Romney type, who turns out to be a secret sociopath.

I must admit that the body count bothered me a bit, but otherwise it’s a very funny movie.

Although supposedly set in West Virginia, the film was shot in Canada, and the actor who plays Dale, Tyler Labine, is Canadian. As sort of an in-joke he wears a cap that says “Giv ’er,” which allegedly is the Canadian equivalent of Larry the Cable Guy’s “Get ’er done!”


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