The horror comedy genre is hard to nail. You need the right amount of humour, horror, and sometimes absurdity to pull the whole production off. Young Frankenstein holds onto that mantle, and Shaun of the Dead set a new standard back in 2004. The genre continues to produce gems here and there that are perfect for a good laugh and a fright factor. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil works hard to be one of these gems and does a good job of earning that title.
Poking fun at your usual teen and cabin horror films, Tucker & Dale is the story of two well-meaning hillbillies who unintentionally strike fear into the hearts of nine college campers. Through a series of miscommunications and poor luck, the teens die one after the other in increasingly brutal ways. Dale and Tucker believe the teens are part of a suicide cult and are scared to call the cops in case they become murder suspects. The whole movie revolves around slapstick comedy, over exuberant gore, and perfectly timed lines delivered by Dale and Tucker.
Actors Alan Tudyk (Tucker) and Tyler Labine (Dale) create a hilarious duo who work well off each other in creating two lovable buffoons who find themselves caught in the middle of this gorefest. Tudyk usually ends up part of the slapstick comedy as well, partially the fault of Labine’s character. The dialogue between the two, and the care they have, is highly enjoyable and believable. This creates a dynamic within the movie that viewers find themselves actually invested in. This seems to poke fun at the fact that many horror movies never develop a want for character investment. It’s one of the many horror tropes that Tucker & Dale vs. Evil satirize in the movie. Even the deaths of the kids begin to lead up as stereotypical horror movie deaths, and the audience is either treated to an over-the-top mockery of the death or are surprised when another scenario takes place.
There are moments of intense fear, followed by some gut-clenching laughs, throughout the movie. The gore will have some viewers feeling squeamish, but Tucker & Dale vs. Evil make it clear that’s the point of the whole film. Although sometimes scenarios end too soon, and the movie seems almost too polished and cute, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil proves itself worthy of being a great horror comedy addition.