‘Evil just messed with the wrong hillbillies.’
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – promoted as Tucker & Dale vs. Evil – is a 2010 Canadian comedy horror feature film directed by Eli Craig from a screenplay co-written with Morgan Jurgenson. The movie stars Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine and Katrina Bowden.
A group of “college kids” are going camping in the Appalachian mountains. While at a gas station, they encounter Tucker and Dale, two well-meaning hillbillies who have just bought the vacation home of their dreams: a run-down lakeside cabin, deep in the woods.
On Tucker’s advice, Dale tries to talk to Allison, but because of his inferiority complex and appearance, he only scares her and her friends.
Tucker and Dale arrive at their decrepit cabin and begin repairing it. Nearby in the woods, Chad tells a story about the “Memorial Day Massacre”, a hillbilly attack that took place twenty years previously.
The college kids go skinny-dipping where Tucker and Dale are fishing, and Allison, startled, hits her head. The hapless duo save her, but her friends think she was kidnapped.
When Allison wakes up in Tucker and Dale’s cabin the next day, she is initially scared but befriends the two hillbillies. The other college kids arrive at the cabin to save Allison from her “psychopathic captors”, and Chuck runs away to get the police.
While Dale and Allison are inside the cabin, Tucker angers some bees and frantically waves around his chainsaw, which the college kids misinterpret as hostility. They scatter through the woods, and Mitch accidentally impales himself on a broken tree. After finding Mitch’s body, Chad persuades the others that they are in a battle for survival…
Despite its deeply uninspiring title, this is a welcome inverse-expectations comedy horror movie that succeeds where many others haven’t. Ignore the complaints from some mainstream critics about it being a one-joke movie and revel in the splatter situation comedy.
Having backwoods folks with a supposed knowledge of the allergic effects of chamomile tea may be stretching the teasing humour, yet it still works. The romantic element is more difficult to swallow than certain specialist teas, yet it’s the film’s one real weakness.
Visually engaging and with a strident score by Michael Shields and Andrew Kaiser, this refreshingly likeable film has found a perceptive audience via the home viewing platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime where it’s been perennially popular in the audience horror picks. And at a mere 84 minutes it doesn’t grind its point into the ground.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA
“What keeps this so amiable is that it honors the simple pleasures of bloody horror without really vilifying anyone: screenwriters Morgan Jurgenson and Eli Craig devise most of the grisly deaths as elaborate slapstick mishaps. Aside from the good cheer, however, there isn’t much to distinguish this from the low-rent slasher movies it parodies; if you’re not a fan of the genre, you’ll likely find this pretty thin.” Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
First time director Eli Craig gets that troublesome mix of horror and comedy dead right, aided in no small part by having charming leads and a central joke that’s original, smart and, above all, funny … As with most single-joke movies the plot runs out of steam, but it’s still a fun and memorable ride.” Phelim O’Neill, The Guardian
“At its heart, it’s really just a one-idea premise stretched out to feature length, but the lovable duo of Tudyk and Labine and an endearing layer of sweetness under all the blood make it a fully enjoyable comedy of (t)errors.” Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly
“Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is an immensely likable horror-comedy and easy to recommend, but also full of missed opportunities. While movie has terrific performances and is certainly filled with more than its fair share of gore and mayhem, its repetitive nature does detract from the overall experience.” Cinema Blend
“A salutary, very funny and pleasingly moral movie”. Philip French, The Observer
“You’ve gone hillbilly on me, Allison. Now I’m willing to forgive you but you’re gonna have to pay!”
Cast and characters:
- Tyler Labine as Dale Dobson
- Alan Tudyk as Tucker McGee
- Katrina Bowden as Allison
- Jesse Moss as Chad
- Chelan Simmons as Chloe
- Philip Granger as Sheriff
- Brandon Jay McLaren as Jason
- Christie Laing as Naomi
- Travis Nelson as Chuck
- Alex Arsenault as Todd
- Adam Beauchesne as Mitch
- Joseph Allan Sutherland as Mike
- Karen Reigh as Cheryl
- Tye Evans as Chad’s Dad