The Reel: “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” combines horror and comedy


Ben Conniff

Last Saturday, I received a recommendation from a high school friend to check out a film called “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” for my 31 Nights of Halloween marathon. I had heard of this movie and had even seen it once. But it took a second viewing to remind me how I felt about it.

“Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” is a genre-bending horror-comedy that turns typical horror clichés on their head.

It’s about a pair of naïve, harmless hillbillies from West Virginia named Tucker and Dale, portrayed with hilarious perfection by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine. They decide to take a vacation to their newly-acquired, dilapidated cabin in the woods. A “fixer-upper,” as Dale puts it.

But a chance encounter with a group of college kids leads Dale to come to a girl’s rescue. From there, Tucker and Dale nurse the girl back to health while the college kids believe their friend has been kidnapped by two killer hillbillies. On a mission to get her back, the kids start terrorizing the hillbillies and end up killing themselves in unique ways — ways that, to the outside observer or law enforcement official, look as if the hillbillies murdered the kids.

My favorite part about this movie has got to be the way its script works with horror clichés and essentially spoofs them, while at the same time, roots them in a solid original story. It’s also different because it makes heroes of the usual villains and villains of the typical heroes/victims.

Tudyk and Labine are highly entertaining as the so-called hillbilly heroes. “30 Rock” hottie Katrina Bowden also makes a decent outing as the damsel-in-distress and girl of Dale’s dreams.

“Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” reminds me very much of Ruben Fleischer’s “Zombieland” and Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin in the Woods” for the way it plays with genre clichés and fits intentional humor and fun characters into typical horror settings. I have yet to see a horror-comedy that I have not enjoyed, but “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” has got to be my favorite of them all. I laughed my way through this 89-minute feature tfrom beginning to end.

If you are like me and enjoy a diversion from typical horror or comedy fare, I highly encourage you to check out “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” on Netflix. It’s a bonafide belly-laugher that’s perfect for Halloween or anytime.

Ben Conniff is a Villa Hills sophomore majoring in marketing with a minor in film studies. For more of his commentary, follow him on Twitter @thereelbennyc