In horror movies, people from south of the Mason-Dixon line are usually backwoods genetic defectives who prey upon lost Blue-staters. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil turns this notion on its head as the title characters play innocent and very loveable West Virginian hayseeds who find the ultimate “vacation home”, a dilapidated shack deep in the woods.
When a group of college kid clichés happen upon this down home Shangri-La, it sets in motion a hilarious sequence of accidental deaths that are pinned on the duo, both of whom aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed (autodidact Dale is “dumb as a stump but remembers everything he’s learned!”) but have good hearts.
An early victim accidentally throws himself into a wood chipper and before trying to explain it away to an investigating cop Dale quips “he’s heavy for half a guy.” Little gems like this punctuate the film, a dynamite horror comedy in a genre that’s usually defined by being neither.
When a support beam with nails flies into a victim’s head it’s followed by “he’s gonna walk it off!.” Monty Python-esque.
The hottest of the college kids is (accidentally) hammered with a shovel and when she comes to, she’s nursed back to health by Dale, the Jack Black doppelganger who’s also a tour-de-force in the kitchen.
For the rest of the movie she has to try and convince her still-alive friends that they’re not being picked off one by one by bootleggin’ inbred stereotypes but by the offspring of the perpetrator of the Memorial Day Massacre. A critic in the Guardian says “a single-joke movie can succeed, if the joke is a good one.”
Something is done to Tucker’s “bowlin’ fingers” you’ll have to see to believe.
Sharp, goofy, gory fun.
**** (out of 5)