Monday, October 31, 2011

Tucker and Dale vs Evil - Movie Review

The great outdoors can be murder.

Classic movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and Deliverance have established murderous hillbillies as a firm staple of modern horror, and along the way they've picked their own range of stereotypes. The makers of Tucker and Dale have acknowledged and embraced these, using the understanding of what audiences have come to expect and capitalising on that in a way that the 'Scary Movie' rip-offs can only dream of.

The movie opens as most have come to expect, with a SUV full of fresh faced college kids off on a camping trip in the wooded hills. En route they have a narrow miss with a beaten-up pickup truck that pulls onto the road.. a truck that soon overtakes them, the two rednecks in the cab staring at them as they pass. And so we catch our first glimpse of the titular Tucker and Dale, lifelong friends who are on their way to the hardware store to pick up some essentials to fix up the dilapidated cabin they've bought up in the hills as their very own holiday home. They're normal guys, looking forward to a weekend of beer and fishing with a bit of carpentry thrown in.

What follows Dale's initial, abortive attempt at initiating a conversation with one of the college girls is a snowballing series of misunderstandings as the kids pigeonhole the oblivious Tucker and Dale as murderous hillbillies with spectacularly fatal results.

Writer-director Eli Craig strikes a fine balance between the funny bits and the gore - it's a rare movie that can make you hoot with laughter while watching someone's head getting pulled into a wood-chipper. Importantly, T&DvE is more than a one trick pony as he never lets the fun he's having in turning the stereotypes on their head overpower everything else. It's laugh out loud funny in (most) places, a gore-splattered buddy movie with a good heart and has become a firm favourite in casa MFB.

(Plus it's nice to see Wash alive again)

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