Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I first became aware of director Eli Craig's TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL (2010) when a friend linked to the trailer on Facebook. From that brief sample, it was clear that I would want to see the blood-soaked, backwoods black comedy when it became available. When the DVD showed up here at the Late Show for review, I had it spinning in the player within minutes of opening the envelope.
West Virginian native Tucker (Alan Tudyk, SERENITY) and his best pal, the shy, good-hearted Dale (Tyler Labine, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) are off to their "vacation home" in the mountains, an isolated, run-down shack/cabin, that they intend fix up, while squeezing in some night fishing for fun. En route to their cabin, they encounter a group of obnoxious college kids on a camping trip, who assume - based on the appearance of the men - that the hillbillies are chainsaw-wielding maniacs. When Tucker & Dale rescue one of the girls (Katrina Bowden, 30 ROCK, THE SHORTCUT) from drowning, her friends assume that she's been kidnapped by the guys, and proceed, in a series of disastrous - and hilarious - attempts to rescue her, to kill themselves off through sheer, hysterical stupidity. As city-bred co-eds keep snuffing themselves all around them, Tucker & Dale frantically try to make sense of the insanity...
I really enjoyed TUCKER & DALE, and thought it was the best genre comedy I've seen since Edgar Wright's SHAUN OF THE DEAD, which it tonally resembles. The screenplay by director Craig and co-writer Morgan Jurgenson is clever, suspenseful, funny as hell, and shows a clear affection and appreciation for the horror subgenre that it so savagely satirizes. The performances - especially those of Tudyk and Labine - are marvelous; multi-layered and genuine. Each act of violence is more hilarious - and gory - than the last, and the cinematography and editing are first-rate.
The DVD from Magnet Releasing sports a crystal clear, technically perfect, 2.35: 1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and robust 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Extras include an engaging and entertaining commentary track by Craig, Labine and Tudyk, "Making Of" featurette, outtakes, storyboards, the theatrical trailer, and, best of all, a re-edited, condensed version of the film from the POV of the terrified college kids, "Tucker & Dale ARE Evil."
TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL is a first-rate horror spoof, made with affection and considerable talent. Tudyk and Labine shine in the titular roles, and the movie is one of the rare few that actually lives up to the promise of its premise. Highly Recommended.
BUY: Tucker & Dave Vs Evil