If You Liked…The Cabin in the Woods, Check Out…Tucker & Dale vs Evil

Posted: April 14, 2012 in If you liked..., Movies
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This week a horror film, The Cabin in the Woods, opened that has been sitting on a shelf in some MGM backroom since 2009.  Perhaps you’ve seen the spoiler-filled trailers.  When a movie is held for years from release, this is not usually a good sign.  These movies tend to…suck.  Thankfully, such is not the case here.  MGM went into bankruptcy and couldn’t afford to release it because of legal issues.  It’s the same reason there hasn’t been a new Bond flick for far too long.  Smaller studios considered buying it from The Lion.  Deals fell through.  When Lion’s Gate finally got the rights, the release date was pushed back.  All this foreplay created buzz amongst horror geeks.  A secret showing at Harry Knowles’ annual Butt-Numb-A-Thon late last year and a premier at Austin’s SXSW Film Festival only served to fan the flames.  Now that the movie has finally arrived, I can safely say it was worth the wait.

From the minds of former Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel collaborators Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, this is a smart horror flick.  Well written, well acted, funny.  Think of it as a deconstruction of the first two Evil Dead flicks and you’ll have a good idea where it’s going.  The third act throws the entire movie on its head and goes in a completely different direction you probably couldn’t have anticipated.

You should check it out.

All this love for the film got my noodle to reminiscing on some other fun genre send-ups I’ve seen in the last few years and it eventually landed on a fun, little Canadian gem from 2010 called Tucker & Dale vs Evil.

Good Guys

Tucker & Dale are just a couple of down-on-their-luck, well-meaning country boys who’ve scraped together enough cash to buy a dilapidated country shack that they wistfully plan to turn into their dream vacation getaway.  While on their way to their new abode to begin some repair work, they stop at a rural gas station for necessary supplies.  Unrelated, a group of college kids are at the same station stocking up for a weekend camping trip.  Allison, one of the campers, catches the eye of Dale and he is immediately taken with her.  Despite Tucker’s urgings, he’s too shy to approach her and can only admire from afar.  The college kids take note of our erstwhile heroes and perceive them as creepy, backwoods trash.  Silly profilers.  The two groups part ways and there’s no real reason why they should cross paths again.  But then we wouldn’t have a movie if that were the case.

As it happens, the cabin and camping site are relatively close to each other.  Late that same night while fishing, the good ole’ boys come across the same swimming hole where the horny, young adults have decided to skinny dip.  Tucker and Dale, unseen at this point, spy young, beautiful Allison standing atop a rock bathed in the moonlight.  Dale panics when he sees her start to disrobe, and in the act of trying to announce their presence startles her to the point of falling off the rock and striking her head.

Gratuitous half-naked shot of The Heroine

The boys come to her rescue of course and pull her limp body into the boat.  Allison’s cohorts see this from afar and take it as an attack.  They run away frightened for their own lives.  Tucker & Dale, confused by their response but fearful for the injured girl,  take her to their cabin to tend to her wounds and the asshole kids, having seen too many horror flicks and emboldened by alcohol, devise a plan to save their ‘kidnapped’ friend.

What follows is a classic gory comedy of misunderstandings as the school-of-hard-knocks boys tend to their home and their guest while the educated punks seek retribution on the hillbillies they’re convinced are out to murder them all.

Bad Guys

There’s a lot of a great visual cues in this movie that bring to mind the classics of the genre.  The plot is tight and the script is witty and fun.  The acting is the true winner here.  Katrina Bowden’s Allison is not the archetypal blonde bimbo often found in a slasher flick.  There’s some substance there.  Tyler Labine as Dale is charming and sweet.  He’s a genuinely nice guy with a big crush on a pretty girl.  He’s got no game but he’s winning her over.  Alan Tudyk of Firefly flame (there’s that Whedon connection again) plays Tucker to exasperated perfection.  He’s frustrated and confused by the proceedings.  He’s just wants to be left alone to enjoy his new cabin and  to spend some quality time with his friend.

But he’s not getting the weekend he’d hoped for.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil is available today on Blu-ray, DVD and Netflix Instant Streaming.

  1. […] third act that works even when it shouldn’t.  For further thoughts on the film, check this […]

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