Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

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This zany horror-flick spoof from debuting director Eli Craig and co-screenwriters Craig and Morgan Jurgenson finds hilarity in the grisly mix-ups that occur when two eccentric but harmless rednecks strike terror in the hearts of vacationing undergrads who have probably seen a few slasher films too many. This low-budget festival favorite provides a full measure of irreverent fun, bolstered by uproarious references to genre classics such as the "Friday the 13th" franchise. Cheesiness and hokum go with the territory in horror-film send-ups, and this filmmaking team pulls off its satiric jabs at clichéd conventions with great wit and style.

The reveling teens are looking forward to a carefree camping excursion into rural West Virginia but become unnerved when they have a minor encounter with two backwoods buds at the local country store. A combination of culture shock, narrow-mindedness, and plain old paranoia causes the youngsters to completely misread the attitudes and intentions of the woefully insecure Dale (Tyler Labine) and his pal, Tucker (Alan Tudyk), who are headed for their getaway cabin in the woods to work on renovations. Meanwhile, the kids go their own way, planning to camp out for the night. Lecherous Chad (Jesse Moss) is hoping to seduce the comely Allison (Katrina Bowden) but quickly loses his chance. After she falls into a lake, she's rescued by Tucker and Dale and taken to their home so they can care for her. Her pals assume she has been kidnapped by the hillbillies and try to launch an attack, but they bungle the effort, to put it mildly. No point in spoiling the surprises, but a lot of gory violence occurs in unexpected ways, en route to a funny and satisfying conclusion.

Tudyk and Labine share a superb comic chemistry. Amid the manic misadventures and aura of lunacy that permeate the film, these actors come across as genuinely believable and even likable souls. Each is also a master at comic timing, ensuring that the smart dialogue fully gets its due. Adding to the film's appeal is the love story that unexpectedly blossoms between Dale and Allison—a spark of genuine heart amid an avalanche of slapstick shenanigans. Bowden is warm and witty, likewise transcending the usually simpler demands of a loony spoof. This film is such a treat that a plea to the filmmakers seems in order. When can we expect further madcap mishaps from the screen's latest dynamic comedy duo?

Genre: Horror comedy
Directed by Eli Craig
Written by Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson
Starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons