I find it ironic that I’m writing about Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) right before I go camping. I don’t mind camping, but I always get this weird vibe like I don’t belong. How strange is to feel out of place in this world?
Of course, I am going to a local hunting and fishing club whereas all of the participants in Evil are going to West Virginia. We are first introduced to “the college kids” out roughing it for the weekend. We can tell right away that (for many of them) this is their first camping trip. It has the feel of such movies as Wrong Turn or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Oh great…another torture porn/survival movie.
But then the movie takes a hard left turn.
We are introduced to Tucker and Dale, two hillbillies that have just purchased a vacation cabin in the woods. Tucker has sunk his entire life savings into this project, and is looking forward to quiet days of hunting and fishing whenever he pleases. Dale is good hearted, simple man.
The 2 groups first encounter each other at a creepy general store in town. Our lead female (Allison) encounters Dale in an aisle, and Dale is stricken silent by her beauty. Tucker convinces Dale to go talk to her outside, and Dale flubs it fantastically. He cackles maniacally because Tucker tells him to “laugh” and is carrying a large metal scythe.
Dale beats himself up on the way to the cabin, and we come to suspect that something really horrible may have happened here at some point. In the evening, the hillbillies go fishing as the college kids go skinny dipping. Allison falls off of a rock and hits her head far away from the group, and Dale jumps in to save her. The college kids see them “kidnapping” Allison, and they all run for their lives (Of course, it doesn’t help much that Dale begins yelling “Hey college kids! We got your friend!”).
And with that, this movie takes off.
The college kids begin a rescue plan (complete with stupid decisions found in most horror movies) while the hillbillies are confused as to what is happening. Neither side is up to speed on what the other is doing, and this movie could be a boring 15 minute movie without all the misunderstandings.
As the movie goes on, it does become far less good natured. There’s quite a bit of gore, and there’s some real scary themes that run through it. It feels weird to laugh at the characters as they die horrible deaths, but that is what this movie deals with: misunderstanding your surroundings. The audience is placed in this situation just as much as the characters. We are shown horrible images set to a funny backdrop. If you showed somebody a death scene from this movie without context, they would have a completely different view of it.
I caught this movie on Netflix about a year ago, and it disappeared. It’s back now so check it out. My wife (who generally hates horror movies) did find this movie enjoyable so don’t think this is one that is saved for a night that she’s out of town fellas.