Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (2010)

Just 'cause a guy's got a scythe doesn't mean he's the grim reaper...

Just ’cause a guy’s got a scythe doesn’t mean he’s the grim reaper…

When I was a young, ignorant kid in high school, I fancied myself a fan of punk rock. I sincerely believed in the now old adage “punk’s not dead,” not even really understanding what ‘punk’ actually meant. As a slightly wiser adult, I now understand whatever I thought punk was might have been so only in superficial ways; there was no innovation, no movement. I get the same feeling today watching new horror movies, and often ask myself if horror is dead in the same ways as punk, and what kind of innovation will there be to keep the genre alive? The answer, my friends, is Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil.

The usual cast of college-kid assholes.

The usual cast of college-kid assholes.

Tucker & Dale are two average country boys taking a weekend off to refurbish their newly-purchased vacation home – a cabin on the lake where they can go fish and have bro-time. Who else likes going to cabins on lakes? College kids, of course – Tucker & Dale first run into this particular group of college kids at the local convenience store, where Tucker encouragingly prods Dale to go talk to one of the pretty girls loading up the car with beer. What he didn’t do, unfortunately, was take Dale’s scythe away from him! Naturally, the

...he'll even pick the stingers out of your face when you're attacked by bees.

…he’ll even pick the stingers out of your face when you’re attacked by bees.

group of college kids are scared of the weapon-wielding, burly country man, and everything they’ve been taught to believe about “rednecks” creeps back into their minds. Not exactly the best first impression.

As unluck would have it, the kids are staying right next to Tucker & Dale’s new cabin, which the country gentlemen learn that evening when they see one of the girls standing atop a rock, ready to jump in the lake. As she catches them spying, she slips and hits her head. Being the good guys they are, Tucker & Dale rescue her and bring her back to the cabin – and that’s when the mother of all misunderstandings starts to come to a head. The kids think Tucker & Dale are crazed mass-murdering maniacs

SPOILER ALERT: the nerdiest goes first.

SPOILER ALERT: the nerdiest goes first.

who hold their friend captive; Tucker & Dale think the college kids are trying to kill them and the girl. Things get even weirder when the kids start dying, seemingly of their own volition, one by one.

Brilliant without pretension, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is without a doubt one of the most exciting “new” horror movies I’ve seen in a long time. Horror-comedies are so often dangerous territory; more often than not they don’t even get their own jokes! But Tucker & Dale is precisely what’s so good about the genre when it’s done right: it knows the tropes, it knows you know the tropes, and it plays with them like a cat does a mouse (and it gets just as bloody). It goes twice the distance Cabin Fever does, and, as much as I love that movie, it does it better and even, perhaps, with a little taste. It’s hilarious, thoughtful, and sweet, believe it or not; a strange mix for a horror film perhaps, but it works! With movies as surprisingly good as this around, I just might believe horror’s not dead.


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