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Tucker and Dale vs Evil


Stars: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss

Director: Eli Craig

Wow! Here's a real surprise - a comedy-horror that hits the mark on practically every count.

Reversing the roles usually occupied by backwoods hillbillies and camping teens, the film focuses on rednecks Tucker (Tudyk, the robot from I, Robot) and Dale (Labine, the hapless doomed technician from Rise of the Planet of the Apes), who are headed for Tucker's new holiday home in the West Virginia woods.

Giving them directions, the local cop bizarrely tells them that 'There ain't nothin' up there but pain and suffering on a scale you can't imagine!' Soon, T and D arrive at what proves to be a ramshackle shack at the same time as a group of nine teenagers, headed by the somewhat psychotic Chad (Moss), camp nearby.

While T and D go midnight fishing, Ali (Bowden), whom Dale had unsuccessfully chatted up earlier, spots them, panics and falls in the lake. T and D rescue her, but her friends assume that kidnap and torture are on the menu and, led by Chad, besiege the shack.

Several of them, alas, succeed only in impaling themselves on sharp objects or falling in chipping machines (shades of Fargo). 'They're killing themselves all over the woods!' yelps a panicked Tucker, who soon has fingers chopped off by a crazed Chad.

Meanwhile Dale, who's brighter than either of them look, is taking Ali to the cleaners at Trivial Pursuit back at the shack. 'I should have known,' he sighs, 'that if a guy like me talked to a girl like you, someone would end up dead.'

This is ripely hilarious stuff all the way through, and a brilliantly original idea, with lots of funny lines and the inevitable deaths of nearly every teen in the woods. 'This vacation sucks,' groans Tucker, but he's wrong. Tudyk, Labine, Moss and Bowden are spot-on and you'll be cheering for the rednecks virtually throughout. This might well be the 'sleeper' of the year: hunt it down if you can.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Technicolor.
85 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Sep 2011