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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Blu-ray Review)

27 Nov, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 11/29/11
Box Office $0.2 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for bloody horror violence, language and brief nudity.
Stars Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden.

There’s a nugget of a message buried in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil about how so many problems between people would go away if we just took the time to communicate with and better understand those with whom we have differences. But mostly it’s a spoof of horror movies about jackass college kids on a booze-filled camping trip getting slaughtered by hillbillies.

That’s the situation for Chad (Jesse Moss), Allison (Katrina Bowden) and their friends, who encounter a couple of creepy hillbilly types on their way to the woods of West Virginia.

That would be Tucker and Dale (rubber-faced Alan Tudyk of “Firefly” and stout Tyler Labine of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, both perfectly cast), walking embodiments of the idea that looks can be deceiving. They just bought a cabin in the woods to use as a vacation home and have come to fix it up, hoping to avoid the college kids, whom they consider equally strange.

Out fishing that night they encounter the kids skinny-dipping, frightening Allison, who slips on a rock and knocks herself out. Tucker and Dale save her from drowning, but the other kids think they’ve kidnapped her. So they plot to fight the hillbillies to get her back, and in their hysteria manage to get themselves killed one by one in a bizarre series of accidents (most hilarious is the kid who manages to hurl himself into a woodchipper).

Dale takes a liking to Allison, and they start to bond, and Bowden’s performance as the sweet, put-upon hot girl (a far cry from her Cerie character on “30 Rock”) gives their relationship a lot of credibility.

This comedy of errors makes the first half of the film a lot of fun, since only the audience understands what’s actually going on. Tucker and Dale conclude that the kids have come to the woods to kill themselves, and that they want to kill Allison to enforce a suicide pact. The duo resolves to sort things out, until the sheriff catches them pulling the body out of the woodchipper, and Tucker gives story that would sound outrageous to anyone who didn’t know it was the truth.

Though the tongue-in-cheek quips continue to fly, the film falters a bit in the second half as it loses some of its comedic edge and becomes the type of slasher film it was trying to parody.

The irreverent tone of the film carries over into the commentary, as Tudyk and Labine join director Eli Craig in making fun of everything there is to make fun of about the film, and then spend the end credits pitching sequel ideas.

Elsewhere on the Blu-ray is a 16-minute version of the film from the college kids’ point of view, which is just the movie with all the Tucker and Dale scenes cut out to make them seem crazy. This seems more like an experiment in context than a compelling standalone extra.

There’s also a collection of outtakes, which could be expected from a movie like this, and a couple of EPK-worthy behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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