Every now and then, low-budget movie makers strike gold. We're not talking "black gold" or even "Texas Tea," although Jed, Jethro and Ellie Mae would be right at home in this movie. We're not even talking box-office gold, because this flick has pulled in about $1.6 million total worldwide (yes it's low-budget, but it's not a breakout success by any stretch of the imagination).
So, what kind of "gold" are we talking? Content gold, story gold, and laughs gold.
First off, the flick stars Alan Tudyk of FIREFLY fame. That's right, Browncoats, your boy Wash lives again as a loveable redneck just trying to get away for the weekend. His buddy in this buddy-hick flick is Tyler Labine, who you might recognize as the hapless helper scientist from RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.
Tucker (Tudyk) and Dale (Labine) are two besties who have bought a dilapidated mountain house to "get away from it all." The kind, friendly fellas just want to own something for themselves, a fixer-upper that just so happens to be the old mountain cabin of a serial killer who terrorized college kids twenty-odd years ago. It's a clear reference to the 70s and 80s "killer hillbilly" flicks like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES.
Enter a new crop of preppy, good-looking college kids, including the oh-my-God-can-a-mortal-woman-actually-be-that-hot Allison (Katrina Bowden from 30 ROCK). When Allison gets separated from her Greek society pals, Tucker & Dale try to help her out -- and that's when the bodies start to pile up. The other college kids think our loveable rednecks are hatin' hick killers, and hilarity ensues.
TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL is clearly modeled on movies that openly embrace horror stereotypes, like SCREAM and the underrated FEAST. Where SCREAM looks at the teen slasher flicks and FEAST cuts up the clichés of killer monster movies, T&DvE pokes fun of the predictable mountain madman tropes by making the redneck the victim as opposed to the killer. Hard-working Tucker and overly sensitive Dale can't seem to stop the blood from flying.
This is one of the best low-budget horror flicks I've ever seen. I loved it, and if you're a fan of old-school horror movies, so will you. Considering how clever the movie is, the ending is a bit of a predictable let-down, but for a movie that is made from clichés you can't really hold that against it. I give this "must-rent" status.