Brandon's Sundance Review: Eli Craig's Tucker & Dale vs Evil
by Brandon Lee Tenney
January 26, 2010
Alan Tudyk was born to play a hillbilly. Well, no, not exactly. He was born to play Wash. But if he was reborn, it'd be to play a hillbilly. Tudyk, who plays Tucker, is one of a pair of hillbillies with hearts of gold who star in Eli Craig's feature writing and directorial debut Tucker & Dale vs Evil. The second half of this backwoods bromance is Dale, played by Tyler Labine, who commands the screen with his cuteness. Yeah, I said it. Labine and Tudyk are adorable together, displaying some of the best chemistry on screen since Rudd and Segel in I Love You Man. Not to mention that they're hilarious. Hell, the entire film is.
T&DvE (it's a long title, give me a break) is the story of a group of college kids who decide to go camping in the woods where two unwitting hillbillies are renovating their newly purchased vacation home. After a series of early misunderstandings, however, the kids believe themselves to be part of what plays out like a classic slasher flick, but, in this case, it's Tucker and Dale who are innocent. The film, though employing some gratuitous gore, is never scary. It's a comedy of errors, through and through. But along with lampooning conventional slasher tropes and horror conventions, T&DvE manages to carve out its own place among the likes of Scary Movie and Shaun of the Dead in a refreshing, novel way.
It's biggest fault is that its third act is a bit weak, flipping the story on its side, but losing some of the momentum it had built up to that point. If you grew up with slasher flicks, this film'll be a riot. But even if you're not a slasher fan, there's enough humor and heart in this thing to make you care. Tucker and Dale's relationship, alone, is worth it. And though Tudyk is outstanding, Labine really shines in this film as well. All around, it's just a ton of fun.
Brandon's Sundance Rating: 8.5 out of 10