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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010): This Is What Horror Comedies Should Be

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Eli Craig, 2010)

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The Canadian poster, because Canada does this sort of thing so much better than we do.

Back in the day (in the dark ages of 1997) there was a ridiculously awesome TV series called Breaker High that pretty much no one watched. Among its cast of up-and-coming young-and-beautifuls were a pair of young actors who portrayed best pals Sean and Jimmy: Ryan Gosling and Tyler Labine. Three years later, Labine would be making high-profile Hollywood blockbusters like Antitrust, while Gosling had gone into the quirky-indie market with movies like The Believer. Fast-forward ten years… and somehow the roles have been reversed, with Gosling headlining everything from romantic melodramas (I man, crap, he was in a Nicholas Sparks movie ferfooxache) to neo-noir (Drive), while Labine, who’s just as talented an actor, is now doing the indie thing. Ryan Gosling is in your face; you have to go looking for Tyler Labine. And here’s the best example in recent memory of why you really, really want to.

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Just some good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm…

Tucker (Beautiful Boy‘s Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) are two blue-collar guys who are going on vacation for the first time in, well, ever; Tyler scored a great deal on a vacation property in the woods. Or so he thinks: it’s actually the former residence of a crazed serial killer, and it’s still replete with traps, tricks, and all other sorts of deadly hijinks. Still, the boys are determined to make the best of it, despite a bummer of a chance encounter with some college preppies at a dilapidated roadside gas station (a hilarious homage to at least fifty slasher flicks that have been released since The Texas Chain Saw Massacre). All goes well enough, with the boys managing to avoid getting themselves killed, until they run into the same college kids again while having a moonlight boat trip. One of the preppies, Allison (Piranha 3DDbeauty Katrina Bowden), slips from a rock and hits her head, so the boys bundle her into the boat and take her back to the cabin for medical attention, leading her friends to believe a couple of crazed serial killers have abducted their friend and launch a half-baked attempt to rescue her…with predictable results. From there, the comedy of errors gets funnier, and gorier, as the preps and assorted helpers from local law enforcement keep trying to rescue Allison—who’s actually having quite a nice time bonding with Dale and playing board games—and running into the former occupant’s traps or stumbling, sometimes

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Now, is that not a face that says “save me!”?

quite literally, into fatal predicaments.

There’s not much I can say about this other than that it succeeds on all counts, and it does so in the most smashing of ways. It’s not only the funniest horror comedy I’ve seen since the eighties (yes, funnier than Dance of the Dead, Boy Eats Girl, and even Slither), it’s the funniest comedy of any stripe I’ve seen since The Fisher King and Delicatessen back in the early nineties. Wonderful. ****

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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