Tucker & Dale vs…. a plot.

After months of being hyped as the best movie streaming on Netflix (which is the equivalent of being dubbed the sweetest smelling turd in the toilet—or smeared on the wall, if you happen to be using a public crapper) I finally gave in and watched Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010).

The premise: A group of bratty college kids take a camping trip into Deliverance country, where they encounter bumbling bumpkins Tucker and Dale. When the kids start dying off one by one they suspect the aforementioned hillbillies as murderous masterminds and hilarity ensues.

For the most part, the flick lives up to its reputation. Alan Tudyk is brilliant as Tucker. Well, as brilliant as one can be when portraying a backwoods buffoon, but Tucker’s antics and accidents are the highlight of the film. Tyler Labine’s Dale, the redneck rendition of an idiot savant, is laughable and lovable enough from the start but loses some of his charm as the movie drudges on.

The only likable spoiled college kid is Chloe, the big-breasted blonde with the hooker shoes, and probably only for those reasons I just stated.  (Extra Credit: Chloe is played by Chelan Simmons, who’s first movie role was Laurie Ann Winterbarger, the little girl killed in the opening sequence of the 1990 TV Miniseries IT.) The lack of likability in the liberal arts majors is perfectly acceptable, since most of them end up as corpses anyway. It would spoil the side-splitting slaughterfest if we became emotionally attached to the victims.

This is mostly a refreshingly new take on the age-old tale of horny rich kids embarking on an odyssey of debauchery into the wilderness only to be gruesomely slayed. However the writers did get more than a little lazy when two different kids at different times meet their death by being impaled by tree branches. This isn’t Slingblade; repetition doesn’t work here.

I’m sure I’ve been spoiled by the golden standard set for horr-coms (comedorrors? Horredies? Shut up.) by the never-boring Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, which I realize is an unfair rubric by which to judge a movie’s worth. However, Tucker & Dale spent nearly an hour living up to the genius of the genre (whatever the fuck that genre is called), but when the fun faded it faded FAST.

Do yourself a favor and turn this movie off with ½ hour left so you can remember it for the cleverness it displays before it commits filmocide by attempting way too late to force a plot, turning the whole thing to a steaming pile of shit. Coincidence is what built the movie; diabolical deliberateness destroys it. Why add a villain to a film that thrived without one? I don’t want to spoil it for you (because the writers already did that) but there’s a damsel in distress scene that looks like it was lifted straight from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, only without the likability or comic relief.

Overall, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil was a good movie that would have been great if it had just continued the haphazard flow that made it work so flawlessly in the first place. So watch the first hour and then turn it off, while you’re still happy. The only chuckle-worthy part you’ll be missing (Hint: Beyonce would demand a ring to be put on it) isn’t worth the torture.

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