Tucker and Dale vs Evil

Dir: Eli Craig
Star: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss

Meh. Maybe this is a horror movie for people who don't like horror movies - a lot of comments I've read have been "I don't normally like horror movies but..." Whatever the reason, we were singularly underwhelmed by this horror-comedy, despite its hype and good reviews. It has basically one joke. A group of college kids head out into hillbilly territory, and fear what's going to happen at the hands of locals, in particular Dale (Labine) and Tucker (Tudyk) - who are actually, entirely innocent, despite the unfortunate corpses which pile up around them. Circumstances make it seem like they kidnapped Allison (Bowden), which pushes her boyfriend Chad (Moss) off the deep end, and turns him into a raging psycho with slaughter on his mind. It'd probably have made a great short feature, but stretched to feature length... not so much. It has the beats and packing of a comedy, without the actual humour - I think, between us, the number of times we laughed could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And one of those might have been Chris clearing her throat.

There is fractional amusement to be had from the ways in which the college kids and others manage to off themselves, often while desperately trying to take out Dale and Tucker. Let's face it, you can never go wrong with death by woodchipper. But when you compare them with, say, another pair of horror-comedy rednecks Val and Earl in Tremors, or even the obvious inspirations, Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead, and this duo are incredibly pale and uninteresting. Also unlike both those other two, the horror aspects are nothing to write home about either, with Moss chewing scenery to insignificent purpose or effect, and the film's appeal ebbs away the longer this goes on, because it has little more to offer. I've said it before, but I'll keep saying it, while film-makers appear not to be listening: there's more to satire than simply repeating the clichés of the genre you are targetting, and with the single twist noted above, that's all you've got here.

[January 2012]

Tucker and Dale vs Boredom
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