Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)
By: Devon B. on October 27, 2011  | 
DVD
Icon | Regions A, B & C | 2.35:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | 88 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Eli Craig
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Chelan Simmons
Screenplay: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson
Country: USA
External Links
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Taking a well known story and altering it so the villain becomes the sympathetic one isn't anything new. John Gardner did this with his novel Grendel, and there's an old EC comic story which reveals what really happened when St. George slew the dragon, and there are probably other examples that pre-date those two by centuries. I first encountered this trick when I read a book called The Dracula Tape, a novel that told the Count's story from the misunderstood vampire's point of view. Dracula wasn't actually such a bad fellow, and he was left trying to deal with irrational people who wanted to kill him out of ignorant fear. The Dracula Tape seems an apt comparison to Tucker & Dale vs Evil! in which a backwoods slasher told from the innocent hillbillies' point of view.

It's quite clear from the moment the viewer meets Tucker and Dale they are not members of the Sawyer clan. They have the standard horror movie encounter with a bunch of college kids who are heading out for a camping trip, except this time, the viewer sees the nervousness that leads to the creepiness presented by the hillbillies. After a simple misunderstanding leads the kids to think Tucker and Dale have abducted their friend, the students think they're in a life or death struggle against Tucker and Dale for their lives. So, according to the title, the college kids, or more specifically the leader of the college kids, is "evil." The film goes to great lengths to show the aggravation the poor hicks must endure before they do the rational thing and decide to fight back.

Tucker & Dale has been drawing comparisons to Shaun of the Dead, indeed there's even a comparison to it on the back of the slick, but I think that's fairly misleading. What made Shaun work so well and be so unique was that it took the horror elements very seriously, so it was essentially a hilarious horror movie. Tucker & Dale is not serious, and is a straight up comedy. More accurate comparisons would be Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, a film that took the horror side of things pretty lightly, or A Film With Me In It. This isn't to say Tucker & Dale isn't a good movie or isn't worth seeking out, just be prepared for a comedy made by someone that has an appreciation for the inherent ludicrousness of slasher movies, not a funny horror movie.

Sending up slashers can be a stretch given how ridiculous the genre can get when trying to be earnest, but Tucker & Dale does it with aplomb, offering plenty of plays on horror standards. Some of the gags, like a chainsaw chase, are incredibly silly, but some of the extremes the students go to in order to justify their interpretation of the situation are pretty clever and very funny. Another clever thing the film does is to not try to outdo slasher implausibility, so rather than have an elaborate, nonsensical explanation as to why the students don't go to the police, the film makes a point of not really bother to explain why they don't go to the police right away. The acting quality varies a bit, but Tucker and Dale are spot on with their funny banter and most of the rest of the cast admirably rise to the occasion.

Aside from some CG gore, there's nothing to really complain about in this one. Writer/director Eli Craig has done an amazing job on his debut feature, and hopefully he has a few more horror themed films that he wants to make.
Video
Tucker & Dale is presented at 2.35:1 in a sharp and clear transfer. There are a few bits of edge enhancement and a slight shudder to some of the camerawork, but picking on this transfer really feels pedantic. The print is very clean, and the image has the full Blu-Ray pop at times. There were a few overlit scenes and one scene, or rather one blocking within one scene, where colours seemed oversaturated, but I would say that both of these things would be present on the source material,
Audio
The sound is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, and like the video this is high class – which is what you want for a movie about hillbillies and dead college kids. Because the move really is a comedy, it's a dialogue heavy track, but there are some nicely balanced ambient sounds, and the surround always springs to life when appropriate. The disc also has 7.1 and 5.1 setup tests if you need to check your system's working.
Extra Features
Overall the Blu-ray is not a hugely in-depth package, unfortunately. Trailers for The Beaver, The Tree of Life, Bunraku and Rare Exports play on start up. The slick says the trailer for Tucker & Dale is also included, but I couldn't find it on the disc. There's a still collection with 65 images and a 12 ½ minute featurette with the cast and crew. The featurette is pretty useless as it's mostly a plot overview and is wrapping up by the time it gets to information of any depth.
The Verdict
Tucker & Dale hasn't had its North American release yet, so I'm not really sure if the extras will be comparable. If you're not too worried about extras, than grab this release with confidence.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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