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Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // November 29, 2011
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Adam Tyner | posted November 14, 2011 | E-mail the Author
"Hello, officer. Good to see you again! We have had a doozy of a day. Uh, there we were, mindin' our own business, making some improvements to my new house, when all of a sudden -- out of nowhere! -- these kids started killin' themselves all over my property."

"This one right here,
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he dove headfirst right into the woodchipper. Little Woody right back there!"

"There's another one up over there who shoved a spear through his gullet! Now I don't know how much experience you've had with this, but we were scared shitless."

" must think that I'm some kinda moron to believe a story like that."

"Oh, no. No sir. Not a moron:"

"Let me get this straight 'cause I'm having trouble understanding some of this. You say you were just workin' when this kid ran up and stuffed his head into that woodchipper?"

"That's a fact...and, and, we think they might be trying to kill the girl that we have inside."

"What girl?"

"You know what? Maybe she can explain the whole thing...if, if, if I hadn't-a knocked her unconscious with a shovel...on accident."

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil piles on pretty much everything you'd wanna see in a slasher flick: the opening scene where some partying kids are nearly run off the road by a couple of rednecks, the ominous backwater gas station, a
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gruesome flashback, the rickety cabin decorated with dangling bones and yellowed newspaper articles about a bunch of ghastly murders, the pissy sheriff who gets himself killed, a bunch of Dr. Loomis-y speeches about "this is where evil lives", a gaggle of hot college chicks, a couple of boobs, a little pot, a colossal body count, and buckets of splatter getting sloshed around. The only thing this slasher flick is missing is...y'know, a slasher. See, Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are a couple of good-ol'-boys living the dream. Tucker finally scraped together enough cash to buy a cabin by the lake, and he and his buddy Dale have taken the truck up to their new vacation home for a weekend of fishin' and PBR. Yeah, yeah, they see all those bones hanging from the ceiling, but they just assume the guy who lived there before 'em was an anthropologist or something. Those articles about murder and torture and stuff all over the walls...? They guess the guy must've been some kind of news buff. While they're out trying to catch some trout one night, they spot a foxy, nubile barely-twentysomething blonde about to go skinnydipping. They accidentally spook Allie (Katrina Bowden), she konks her head on a rock, and Dale dives into the water to play hero. The rest of Allie's college pals missed that part. They just see what looks like a hillbilly gnawing off her face, and since this lake happens to -- oh! -- be the place where a couple of redneck nutjobs slaughtered a bunch of teenagers twenty years earlier, they figure Tucker and Dale are gonna be hacking them up into tiny, bloody chunks too. All these two hillbillies are trying to do is nurse Allie back to health and get her back to her friends in one piece, but those damned college kids keep dropping like flies all around them: impaling themselves, diving headfirst into a woodchipper, lighting themselves on fire, and the list goes on and on from there. No one's killing anyone but themselves, exactly, but...uh, it still doesn't look good for Tucker and Dale, who through no fault of their own wind up looking like mass-murderers. And, yeah, 'cause this is a slasher flick, eventually the two of 'em find themselves in some psycho's
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crosshairs too, but that's a whole other story.

So, yeah, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is kind of the best thing ever. It's a pretty impossible thing to pull off too. I mean, name a genre that's riddled with more failure than horror/comedies. There are a couple of great ones, yeah, but most of 'em aren't funny or even a little bit scary. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil makes a bunch of general nods to slasher conventions but doesn't get obnoxiously meta about it. The whole thing doesn't grind to a screeching halt during the warm and fuzzy romance scenes between Allie and the totally understandably smitten Dale. It makes a couple of hillbillies seem like the most endlessly likeable people on the planet (sure doesn't hurt to have the ridiculously awesome Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine on the bill), and even the college kids...well, most of them, anyway...are pretty cool and sympathetic too. Tucker and Dale... could've gone the route of making 'em all a bunch of insufferable pricks who do a parade of really stupid things, and you're kinda cheering them on to die. Here, though...? You don't. Well, I mean, you kind of do because the kill accidental suicide scenes are wall-to-wall amazing, but most of the kids are just trying to hightail it outta there in one piece. Pick up any real slasher flick, and chances are any scene where no one's getting screwed or skewered is gonna be a slog to get through. Here, it all completely comes together. It's clever, it's funny, it's sopping with splatter (with hardly any CGI!), the characters are pretty likeable and have a helluva lot more personality than any '80s body count flick ever, Katrina Bowden is off-the-charts gorgeous, the pace never drags, it never settles for anything dumb or campy, and...ack! I love it. I get that co-writer/director Eli Craig didn't devote three years of his life or whatever to making a movie just for me, but damned if it doesn't feel like it. Very, very Highly Recommended.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil looks pretty much perfect in high-def. Since it's a straightahead digital production, obviously there aren't any flecks of dust or nicks in the print to get in the way. The cinematography is sharp, smooth, and detailed, not dragged down by any hiccups in the compression or awkward filtering. The colors have that authentically dialed-down, slashery look to 'em, and all of that comes through perfectly. I mean, yeah, the contrast does have that slightly milky look you often get with the Red One camera, but I can't really hold that against the flick. No gripes or complaints at all.

Dished out on a dual layer Blu-ray disc, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil has been encoded with AVC and is presented at its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is lugging around a 24-bit, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Pretty much everything in the mix is clean, clear, and perfectly balanced. The movie's dialogue is never drowned out even with as chaotic as things
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can get, and the low-end is constantly snarling throughout. Since there really isn't all that much in the way of stalkin'-'n-slashin' going on here, the surrounds don't get quite as much of a workout as they do in a lot of horror flicks, instead reserved mostly for atmosphere and to reinforce the score. The rears do have their moments, though, what with gunshots being blasted off and a kinda/sorta/not-really nailgun massacre. It's not the most immersive sound design I've ever stumbled across or whatever, but...yeah, it does the job.

No dubs or downmixes this time around. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil does pile on subtitles in English (SDH) and Spanish, tho'.

  • Tucker and Dale Are Evil: The College Kids' Point of View (17 min.; HD): Okay, so in the theatrical cut of the flick, you get to see how much of a misunderstanding this whole thing is. This re-edited version, meanwhile, shows everything from the college kids' perspective where Tucker and Dale really do come across as psychopathic, bloodthirsty hillbillies. It's the exact same footage, just without a bunch of the stuff in between, and it plays like an honest-to-God slasher flick. More than a little bit awesome.

  • Audio Commentary: The other standout extra on this shiny Blu-ray disc is the commentary track with co-writer/director Eli Craig and actors Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk. It's one of those infectiously fun, super-chatty commentaries that never really eases up on the throttle. It's kind of funny how self-deprecatory the whole thing is too, with Labine and Tudyk freely admitting they didn't think the movie would cut together and that it'd never see the light of day. All three of 'em are really candid about the bits that frustrated them during filming along with the things they don't think quite work in the final cut. That's just a small chunk of the track, though, and way more of it's upbeat and quippy, revealing stories about pickled egg fragments getting caught in nasal cavities and stuff. This was a blast to listen to, and it's kind of essential if you're planning on buying or renting this Blu-ray disc. Oh, and they apologize for the overall lack of extras.

  • Outtakes (8 min.; HD): C'mon, obviously a blooper reel with Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine is gonna be amazing.

  • The Making of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (12 min.; HD): This promotional piece sticks to that HBO First Look format where it's basically an extended trailer along with the cast and crew recapping the plot. The weird thing is that even though the whole thing is clearly just trying to say "go see Tucker and Dale vs. Evil; now
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    playing at a theater near you!", they also give away some key surprises that come at the very, very end of the flick. There's some stuff scattered around in here about the production design, cinematography, how quickly the first draft of the script fell together, and the camaraderie between Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine on the set, but it's really meant more for people who haven't shelled out twenty bucks to buy this Blu-ray disc.

  • HDNet: A Look at Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (5 min.; HD): Um, this is pretty much the making-of -- exact same footage and all -- trimmed down to five minutes. Kinda pointless.

  • Storyboards (HD): A whoppin' 97 pages of storyboards tackle pretty much every kill in the flick and then some. I'm too lazy to count how many storyboards there are, exactly, but with two or three per page, you're looking at north of two hundred for sure.

  • Trailer (3 min.; HD): ...and last up is a high-def trailer.

The Final Word
If there's one thing that bugs me about Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, it's that it's so...everything-I'd-ever-want-in-a-movie that I'm annoyed I don't have the talent or imagination or whatever to have made it myself. You could probably count on one hand how many horror/comedies actually work, and with as clever, funny, and drenched in splatter as Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is, this one definitely makes the short list. Highly Recommended.
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Highly Recommended

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