What’s so scary about a stereotypical hillbilly? Is it the penchant for wearing flannel? The ridiculous teeth? Their banjos? None of it seems terrifying on paper, but an entire horror subgenre and classic films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance have been formed around these ridiculous characters. But what if the yokels aren’t the violent animals that they seem to be, but rather misunderstood simple folk that get caught up in a series of horrific coincidences? Enter writer/director Eli Craig’s Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.
As the title suggests, the film centers on two rednecks named Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) who buy a ramshackle rural cabin that they intend to use as their vacation home. Meanwhile, in the same area, a group of college kids, led by the ridiculously aggressive Chad (Jesse Moss), arrive to do some camping during spring break. Things get a bit hairy when one of the college girls, Allison (Katrina Bowden), nearly drowns during night swim and is rescued by the two protagonists. What the pair doesn’t realize is that the twenty-somethings are convinced that Tucker and Dale have kidnapped their friend and try anything to get her back.
As our dimwitted, well-intentioned hillbilly heroes, Labine and Tudyk aren't just great individually, but have great chemistry as a duo. Though neither character is an achiever in the IQ department, Labine’s Dale is wonderfully charming and naïve dummy who you can’t help but love, particularly when he becomes a ball of nerves around the beautiful Allison. Conversely,
Tudyk’s Tucker is more like the straight-man, but also gets to do quite a bit of physical comedy, be it waving around a chainsaw while being attacked by bees or trying to pull someone out of a woodchipper (and then asking them if they’re okay). A classic straight man-funny man set up in the vein of Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy, the two actors have a great...