Movies From the Black Lagoon: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - 2010, Rated R
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer

A truck load of obnoxious college students make life hell for a pair of West Virginians in this black humored horror flick that turns Southern stereotypes on their heads.
Our titular duo turns out to be the best of friends who are very excited about having bought their own vacation home on Lake Morris in West Virginia. They have packed plenty of fishing gear and tools for their first visit, (the place is a bit of a fixer-upper).
Meanwhile four couples on 'Spring Break" are repairing to the same body of water so they can ingest various party supplies and skinny dip while condemning the locals for being dumb hicks. Trouble comes in a hurry when one member of the collegiate group, Ally, falls off a log and bangs her head before plunging into Lake Morris. Luckily Dale observes this development and dives in and rescues her while her friends panic and run away.
Ally is brought back to the cabin and resuscitated by Dale. The two bond over a trivia game while her friends stalk the cabin thinking that Dale and Tucker are evil backwoods cannibals. They launch an ill-fated assault on the pair while Tucker is feeding a wood chipper. Let's just say their coordination is not up to snuff and one of the group winds up feeding the chipper by accidentally diving into it. The others assume Tucker fed the guy to the pulp producing machine while he and Dale can only assume the co-eds are part of some sort of suicide cult.
The rest of the movie riffs off of this scene with accident-prone characters offing themselves while blindly sticking to their prejudices about country people. The resulting gore is good enough for a straight horror movie and will be accompanied by belly laughs as you marvel at how plausible all of these situations are. It all comes together thanks to excellent directing that allows the humor to flow from the situation while the actors play it straight.
It all works thanks to excellent directing by Eli Craig. This is his first feature but here's hoping that this son of a "Flying Nun"(Sally Field is his mom) will be back with more adventures for Tucker and Dale. The casting is letter perfect here with Tyler Labine stealing the film as the soft spoken, and devilishly smart, Dale. He imbues the character with a combination of sensitivity and awkwardness that makes it easy for you to underestimate him at first. Alan Tudyk is also good as Tucker. He may appear to the Alpha male in this friendship but he nails a scene wherein he lets dale know how he admires him. This is great stuff and it is about time that someone confronted the notion that it is still acceptable to make fun of some groups. Personally I could stomach garbage like "Wrong Turn" better if there were more flicks like this one to balance the ledger.
Best Lines: "You are a good looking man. More or less."
"He's heavy for half a guy."
"When you see a college girl prancing around in front of you, half naked, you do not call out my name."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.