A group of hard-partying college kids go on a weekend getaway deep in the backwoods of West Virginia. The only things on their minds are drinking, smoking some pot and having sex. It sounds like a fun couple of days. That is until they spot two creepy looking hillbillies and soon their weekend of fun turns into a weekend of horror.
At least that’s from the kids’ perspective. The two hillbillies are Tucker and Dale. They are simply just two good old boys who were also on their way for a relaxing weekend. They had just bought their own cabin and were planning on spending their time fixing it up and getting in some fishing.
Then these panicked kids completely ruin their weekend by running around killing themselves as they suspect that Tucker and Dale are backwoods murderers. And all the bewildered pair wanted to do was just drink some beers.
This is a very funny film. It’s a one-joke premise – two innocent hillbillies mistaken for the movie clichéd nightmares we’ve all seen in many films. However, the film takes that premise and runs as far as it can with it, while always managing to keep things very entertaining. It’s a creative and fun exercise in spoofing the conventions of all those countless teen horror movies.
Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk make a terrific comedy pair as the two dim-witted hicks. They have that onscreen chemistry that just makes me really enjoy watching them and they are very funny.
We get all the horror requirements – the spooky cabin, the scared out of their mind teens, dangerous looking mountain men, but all of it is given a comedic tweak. And naturally we get gore and blood, which under these circumstances are played for laughs. The skewed perspective to this horror formula is very well done.
One of the best, simplest scenes of demonstrating this is when Tucker and Dale encounter these kids at a gas station early on. The shy, awkward, boardgame-loving Dale is smitten with the pretty Allison (Katrina Bowden). Encouraged by his friend to “just go up and talk to her” and follows his advice to smile and laugh.
Dale’s friendly introduction comes off as bizarrely threatening to the teens, as he tries his darnedest to be as sweet and sincere as possible. I couldn’t stop laughing as Dale asks the group, “so you kids going camping?” and following his innocent question with a crazed laugh. It also doesn’t help he’s nonchalantly holding a huge sharp sickle.
This would make a great double-feature with Shaun of the Dead. This is one of those movies that didn’t get a lot of exposure when it was originally released, but is now out there waiting for audiences to discover.
All the recent excitement of Cabin In The Woods, another film that plays with horror conventions, I think it pales in comparison with Tucker and Dale. This is much more creative and much, much funnier.
The pairing of Labine and Tudyk as these characters has really made me hope they would return for another Tucker and Dale adventure one day. It’s probably very unlikely at this point, but these actors as these characters could make for some entertaining stories.