Monday, May 28, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Tucker and Dale vs Evil

2010, Eli Craig -- download

This weekend I was re-watching Dollhouse on Netflix (yes it will get its own treatment) and I again sat and pondered how much I loved watching Alan Tudyk play a not-so-nice character.  He plays the nice-guy soooo well, it was a joy to see him present such a nasty, complex character in Alpha.  But, really, why I like Alan Tudyk so much is how much he comes across as a likeable guy.  And in Tucker and Dale vs Evil he is the patient, thoughtful Tucker, friend to insecure Dale.  Even after he accidentally gets involved in the death of quite a few deaths of clumsy college students, he remains the nice guy.

Tucker and Dale are hillbillies, in the classic sense. They wear overalls and plaid, they talk with funny accents and have a truck full of power tools and sharp objects.  In most movies they would be the scary guys at the rest stop freaking out the college kids  are on their way to the cabin in the woods (yes, later, its own treatment as well) for a weekend of debauchery.  But of course, the college kids just don't get that Tucker and Dale are also headed to the cabin in the woods, having just purchased it as their new summer home.  Dale establishes himself in the kids' minds, as a scary psycho, when he tries to talk to a pretty girl. Dale is a bit socially clumsy so it doesn't go well.  Meanwhile the kids are showing that they have their own psycho.

This is a great comedic send up on the classic tropes of a horror movie, in the way The Cabin in the Woods is a serious twist on the same tale.  This time we see most of the story from the point of view of the "scary" hillbillies at the "last gas station before hell" not quite harbingers of doom.  They are just nice, well-meaning guys who get mixed up in the terrified delusions of the college kids.  It doesn't help that there are a few clumsy run-ins with wood chippers and long pokey sticks.  In heavy swipes of slapstick mixed with great dialogue, Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine (another of my favourite comedy actors), use the cliche chainsaw and tool shed for of sharp objects and even have time to toss in a saw mill before they vanquish the actual evil of the title.