Horror and comedy almost never work when combined (well, intentional comedy at least; unintentional comedy works quite well within the genre as Troll 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 among many others have proven). All too often the horror part of the equation is lost, or transformed into cheap parody, as the comedy takes center stage and the horror is reduced to a number of referential callbacks to horror movies to get a cheap chuckle out of the audience (Scary Movie franchise, I’m looking at you). The most successful horror comedies either try to tell a straight horror story with a naturally charming and comedic cast or will take what we know about a particular subgenre and turn it on its head.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil belongs in the latter category of horror comedies.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil takes the standard “Hillbilly Rape-Cannibal” horror film and turns it on its head by casting the titular hillbillies as the protagonists. Tucker & Dale (expertly played by Tyler Labine & Alan Tudyk) are two goodhearted rednecks out for a weekend to remodel their ramshackle vacation home by the lake. They run afoul of a group of vacationing college students, who after a series of comedic misunderstandings and accidental fatalities assume that Tucker & Dale are hillbilly cannibals out to murder them all, when really they're just cowering in their cabin wondering how they can stop these college kids from killing themselves. Hilarity, often coated in a few gallons of blood, ensues as these two sides engage in a fight for survival that neither fully understands.
While the script is hilarious on its own right, the film is truly sold by the earnest portrayals of Tucker and Dale as a couple of really decent guys, who more than anything else want a quiet weekend together of fishing and fixing up their cabin. They don't know they're in a horror movie. They don't know what they look like to everyone else. Dale just wishes he had enough confidence to talk to pretty girls, and Tucker more than anything just wants his best friend to succeed. They're kind, sensitive, and more interested in saving the life of their dog than taking revenge on these college students who have thoroughly ruined their weekend.
Well, when they're not busy trying to figure out the best way to remove most of a college kid from their tree chipper that is.
(THIS MOVIE IS A MATT CARTER PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION: Yes, that's right folks, this movie's one of the rare occasions on this list where I'm going to get up and actually recommend you go pick up a copy of this movie and check it out if you've the time. While most movies on this list are classics I'm going to assume everyone has seen, or personal favorites that will likely just stay that, personal favorites, Tucker & Dale is a criminally underseen little gem of a movie that I think everyone could love if they give it a shot. Smart, funny, bloody and sweet, it has something for everyone! Please, check it out if you get some time, and tell me what you think of it if you do!)
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-- Matt Carter
(We know there's a lot of Matt Carter's online you could spend your time with, so thanks for hanging around this one!)