Blu-ray Review: Darkly Hysterical ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’

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CHICAGO – Eli Craig’s debut is a smart, funny horror movie, which means it will have a HUGE shelf life on Blu-ray and DVD. This is the kind of piece that gets passed around via word of mouth and Facebook recommendations. It fell relatively flat at the box office, but gory horror movies like this one were meant to be watched at home or in dorm rooms where I expect this film will take off over the next few years. See the future cult hit now. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

“Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is a spoof of the “redneck horror movie.” You know the kind, movies like “Cabin Fever” that play off hillbilly horror fears of the deadly people in the woods about to kill sweet, young suburbanites who take the wrong exit off the freeway. “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” spins those archetypes – the suburbanite’s fear of a man who lives in a cabin, wears overalls, and goes fishing. Of course, most of the people who live in cabins in the woods aren’t psycho killers despite the urban legends you may have heard. In fact, Tucker (Alan Tudyk of “Firefly”) and Dale (Tyler Labine of “Reaper”) are sweet, normal guys.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

Tucker and Dale are remodeling a creaky old cabin in the woods, a spot that turns out to have been the site of some brutal murders years earlier. A group of preppie college kids (including Katrina Bowden of “30 Rock” and Brandon McLaren of “The Killing”) stumble into their area for a little bit of what all beautiful people do in movies like this one — skinny dipping. When Allison (Bowden) spots them, she falls into the water and needs to be rescued by Tucker & Dale, the latter of which takes a liking to her, makes her pancakes, and asks her to help him dig a crapper hole.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th, 2011
Photo credit: Magnolia

Of course, Allison’s friends have heard too many stories. They assume the digging is of her own grave and that she’s been kidnapped by Leatherface and his family. After an encounter with bees and a chainsaw leaves one of the snobby brats dead, the gang becomes even more convinced that Tucker & Dale have not only eaten their friend but will hunt them down next. What unfolds is basically a series of events in which really stupid college kids get themselves killed in the company of two freaked-out rednecks. And it’s great.

“Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is dark and bloody and gory, but if you’re OK with those elements — if you’ve cheered on Ash or laughed at “Shaun of the Dead” — then you’ll get on the film’s wavelength. The script is clever, the direction is pitch-perfect, and Tudyk and Labine have FINALLY been given material as smart and entertaining as they’ve been a part of on TV.

The Blu-ray for “Tucker & Dale” is nicely tricked out as if Magnolia thinks they’ve got a future cult hit on their hands. Movies this anemic at the box office don’t usually get commentaries, featurettes, etc., but this is a nicely-packed package. Tucker and Dale win again.

Special Features:
o Making of Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
o Tucker & Dale ARE Evil: The College Kids’ Point of View
o Outtakes
o Storyboards
o Commentary with Director Eli Craig, Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk
o HDNet: A Look at Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
o Theatrical Trailer

“Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” stars Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden, and Brandon McLaren. It was written by Eli Craig & Morgan Jurgenson and directed by Craig. It was released in Chicago on October 7th, 2011 and is also available On Demand. content director Brian Tallerico

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