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Movie Review: "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 9/30/2011

Theatrical Release: 9/30/2011

Synopsis

Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) have saved up some money and have made a big purchase. They bought a lake house, and while it is definitely a fixer-upper, they know they can turn it into the vacation home of their dreams. Thus, they make a trip up to the lake to work on fixing up the house. Meanwhile, a group of college kids are on a camping trip at the very same lake. They are weirded out by the two hillbillies, Tucker and Dale, but things take a horrific turn when they believe the hillbillies have kidnapped one of their friends. Tucker and Dale are just trying to mind their own business while they fix up the house, but these crazy college kids are in a fight for their lives while they try to save their friend. The result is a huge misunderstanding that has taken a disastrously horrific turn.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Premise (+10pts)

Chad (-4pts)

Tucker & Dale (+6pts)

The Therapy Scene (-2pts)

Allison & Dale (+6pts)

The Ending (-4pts)

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Pro: The Premise (+10pts)

This movie was really all about a colossal misunderstanding, and the premise changes drastically depending on the perspective you are looking at this story from. From one perspective, the movie was about a couple of hillbillies trying to fix up their house, while a group of college kids ran around their property like a bunch of suicidal lunatics. From another perspective, the movie was about a group of college kids trying to enjoy a camping trip when a couple of murderous hillbillies kidnapped one of their friends. This movie was a lot of fun, and this premise was the primary reason why.

The premise delivered a ton of comedic moments. It was comedy that was silly on the surface, but it was actually really clever when considering the multiple perspectives and how each action could be perceived from each side. This made the comedy clever, dumb, and hilarious. This movie and its premise provided plenty of memorable, hard, laugh-out-loud moments, and I honestly do not remember the last time I laughed so hard at a movie.

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Con: Chad (-4pts)

Chad was such a good name for this character. When you think of a stereotypical "Chad", you think of an arrogant jock-type character. I am obviously not saying that everyone named "Chad" is like that, but if you are writing a movie and have to create a college kid named "Chad", that would be the stereotype that you would go for. This Chad was full of himself, he was trying to "get with" the main female character, he was very aggressive, and he pretty much just thought he was the hottest thing since sliced bread. The character was very annoying, but I think Jesse Moss—the actor in the role—delivered exactly what the filmmakers wanted from the character.

All of the character's qualities may seem fine on the surface, but everything about this character was dialed up for this movie. He was clearly—right from the first time he appeared on screen—intended to be the primary antagonist of the movie. Everything he did was exaggerated, especially the character's aggression, and I think the movie would have been better off if the filmmaker's went in the opposite direction with the character. This movie worked best when it was playing with the multiple perspectives of this movie’s premise. Every incident had two very different perspectives, and both of them were completely understandable. The character was annoying, sure, but by making Chad an obvious and one-dimensional villain, the filmmakers lost some of what made this premise so great.

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Pro: Tucker & Dale (+6pts)

I really enjoyed the friendship between the two titular characters. Tucker was the leader of the duo. He knew what he wanted, and he knee what to do to make it happen—or I should say he thought he knew what to do, and Dale did not know enough to question him. He clearly looked after Dale, he always had a plan and Dale looked up to him for it.

Dale was somewhat of an oblivious follower, which let him deliver plenty of comedy. The two characters worked really well together, and I loved watching them in their perpetual state of panic throughout this movie. They also had a strong friendship that translated well to the screen, because of the strong chemistry between the actors. The characters' hysterical confusion was really fun to watch, but their chemistry made the characters' friendship—and the movie as a whole—really easy to get invested in.

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Con: The Therapy Scene (-2pts)

I will not get into this in too much detail, because the scene happened toward the end of the story and saying too much about it could definitely get into spoiler territory pretty quick. What I will say about this scene is that I thought it was dumb. The scene gave the opportunity for certain characters to meet, which gave them the opportunity to explain themselves and clear up the misunderstanding, but they did not do that, which was pretty convenient for the writers. I also did not buy either characters' motivations for wanting to meet. Everything about the scene just raised too many questions that poked massive logic-holes in this part of the story. I did not think the scene was a horrible idea, but the filmmakers definitely needed to work it out some more to patch up those logic-holes I mentioned earlier.

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Pro: Allison & Dale (+6pts)

Another element of the story that provided a lot of comedy was Dale's infatuation with Allison (Katrina Bowden). Dale developed a bit of a crush on Allison, but he had no idea how to talk to women. Meanwhile, Allison was on edge because of her situation—you know, from thinking that Tucker and Dale wanted to kill her and all. This “relationship” made for a number of hilariously awkward moments, which kept me pretty entertained and laughing during the movie’s slower, less chaotic scenes.

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Con: The Ending (-4pts)

I loved the premise of this movie. It provided a ton of great comedy, but while the filmmakers had a great premise, they clearly had a tough time wrapping up this story in a satisfying way. I thought they failed to deliver an ending that lived up to the great comedy that had come before. Toward the end of the story—actually right after the therapy scene—the movie took a disappointing turn. Before the therapy scene, this was a fun, clever, and ridiculously funny horror-themed movie. After the therapy scene, it turned into a typical action movie, with a one-dimensional antagonist, and a very typical ending. I loved almost everything leading up to it, but I thought the filmmakers could have delivered a much stronger ending.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (87pts)

I saw this movie while scrolling through Netflix, and it seemed like it could be okay, but it did not really jump out to me. I thought it could be an average movie to pass the time and I decided to watch it only if nothing better rolled along. Fast forward an embarrassing amount of time, and I did not find anything else. To be totally honest, I am glad that I did not, because this movie was a lot of fun.

I was expecting and hoping for a moderately entertaining movie to pass the time. What I got was a clever, hilariously funny, horror-themed movie. The ending was a bit of a let-down, and the antagonist was annoyingly one-dimensional, but there was a lot to like about this movie. I liked the friendship between Tucker and Dale, I liked the awkward infatuation that Dale had toward Allison—which effectively kept me entertained and laughing during the movie's slower scenes—and the premise made for a ton of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments. This movie did not look like much when I was scrolling through Netflix, but I had a really great time watching it.

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