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Ten Word or Less Review: The Texas Chainsaw Parody

Peanut butter and chocolate.  Chicago and pizza.   Hillbillies and horror movies.  These things go go hand in hand with each other.  Put a pack of cliched college kids in an SUV, send them to the hills for a weekend of drinking, pot smoking and debauchery and before you know it some cannibalistic family of flesh, fiending freaks will crawl out of the ground and start lopping off teenage cranium to wear for a hat.  This debased formula is tired and worn out, wasn’t too sharp to begin with and could really use a reinvention if it’s going to continue.  So crack open a Pabst and introduce yourself to Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, a clever parody on one of horrors most grating genres.

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are a duo of polite country boys out to fix up their crappy, new vacation cabin.  It looks like an untouched set from Evil Dead.  Dale is the big, shy lug of the duo.  A bearded bumpkin who hates fishing because it hurts the fish, Dale is shy to a fault and bad at standing up for himself.  When Tucker encourages Dale to talk to a pretty coed at a gas station, with Dale oblivious to the 7 ft. scythe in his hand, the stage is set for a huge misunderstanding.  Bad coincidences and preconceived notions begin to mount and before you can crack open a cold beer these teen morons are killing themselves off in one gruesome accident after another in vane attempts to ‘defend’ themselves from Tucker and Dale, much to the duos dismay.

First time filmmaker Eli Craig is the writer and director of Tucker & Dale.  It’s not often you see a filmmaker blend strong creative effort, sharp humor and gross out antics to such winning effect.  Though about as disgusting as its straight ahead horror brothers, the squeamish won’t dig this, the gore always comes with a huge dose of humor.  Impaling, gun shots, massive head trauma and a wood chipper accident make for a hilarious, blood soaked cartoon of a movie.

What makes Tucker & Dale even better is that we genuinely like the two leads.  The films working as inspiration for T&D are always handicapped because everyone in the movie is disgusting and cretinous.  There is no one to like or root for and the audience simply waits for the next victims deserved demise.  Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Tyler Labine (lots of random stuff) have a believable, good ol’ boy chemistry which makes the movie work better than its grim ancestors.  The teens, your usual pack of frat boys, a pot smoker, some bimbos and a token black guy, are there to act like they’re in your standard horror romp, oblivious that their ruining the vacation of two nice guys who have no ax to grind, literally.

Tucker isn’t perfect, it’s been over plotted a bit, but it works as a great horror parody and as a legitimate b-movie on its own right.  Even if you aren’t very familiar with what Craig and company are poking fun at this is still a satisfying black comedy.  In a year which has seen a lot of off beat movies wildly miss the mark Tucker and Dale vs. Evil delivers the goods.


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