“Crazy college kids!”
Tucker & Dale reminded me of Shawn of the Dead, Zombieland and Dog Soldiers a bit. A nice breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale genre.
The horror movie genre has had it’s ups and downs for me. Once torture porn finally breathed it’s last gasp with the Saw franchise last year (at least I hope it did, never know it might be waiting for you to get closer to check for a pulse) the genre split into several camps: Scares. Found Footage. Haunted House and EVP.
The “found footage” genre created by Blair Witch had been going like gang busters since Paranormal Activity is now on it’s third sequel and the EVP genre aka Ghost Hunters takes over the entire Wednesday Night Block on SyFy.
So, where does Tucker & Dale fall?
It should fall into place where Evil Dead started, the Cabin in the Woods-genre, right next to the aptly named movie Cabin in the Woods but Cabin in the Woods is still waiting to be released, much to everyone annoyance. And, I hope it’s just as good as the script because the script rocked.
Tucker & Dale is the ole fashion, mix of rated R horror genre. One cup Let’s kill off a SUV chock full of teenagers in interesting ways. Two cups hillybilly and dash of cabin in the woods. The ingredients do not include a masked villain creeping in the woods. Instead, there are two villains. The first villain is more the preconceived notion of someones social status in life and the second is the often forgotten about generation villain.
The movie starts like all horror movies: SUV filled with college kids, smoking, cracking wise on the road until they come face to face with their nemesis for the rest of the movie: Tucker and Dale played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine. Two guys going out to a summer cabin to fix it up after Tucker bought the place.
The college kids are essential faceless except for three or four of the main characters, Allison played by 30 Rock alumn Katrina Bowen, Chad played by Jesse Moss, Jay played by Brandon Jay McLaren, Naoimi played by Christie Laing and lastly Chloe played by Chelan Simmons who should get an achievement unlocked for the amount of blood tossed down her top.
There are at least three to four more but like I said they were faceless until they’re either impaled by a tree limb, face first into a the wood chipper, shot, set ablaze or get a facial by way of the weed wacker.
Early on most of the scenes can be taken two ways: Tucker and Dale are trying to help or Tucker and Dale are face eating hillbillies. After a bit those scenes are ignored since you can only pull off that so many times and Chad’s backstory along with the backstory of the local area is revealed to the audience.
Like any good horror movie there’s always the town with a bloody backstory. And, wherever this movie takes place is no different, twenty years ago there was a Memorial Day massacre, college kids get dead, raped and one escapes. The gory details are gory enough for horror fans and thankfully does not venture into torture porn.
The movie is kept small while the characters get to act, after seeing Katrina play a blonde assistant on 30 Rock it’s nice to see her acting and even putting her character’s backstory to good use until she winds up in the damsel in distress role in the end. Alan and Tyler’s characters are cute and lovable while Chad is the upper class douche we all love to hate.
I mentioned in reviews past that the police fallout in movies is either non-existant or exists purely for escape scene (see Salt), horror movies tend to use police to just rack up more kills for the villain or have them in league with the villain in the first place. This time, Sheriff Burr played by Philip Granger actually manages to help rather well until he’s dispatched. Can’t say he didn’t try.
In the end, Tucker & Dale is a good throw back to a smart rated R horror movie and is currently available on iTunes and should be appearing in theaters September 30.