If Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost were to make a Shaun-esque film based around the hillbilly slasher genre, this would be very similar to the end product. When I first saw the trailer for this, I got super excited. Then, the other day, I found out it was available to rent on iTunes for VOD. I snatched it up quick. And I was not disappointed.
Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are best friends that just so happen to be hillbillies. They've come to the countryside because Tucker's bought a fixer-upper cabin for a vacation home, and the two guys are going to spend some quality time. Dale has some confidence issues, and he's really hard on himself, as showcased when he first tries to talk to some college girls at a gas station who, for some reason, freak out when he comes over. Later, one of the college girls, Allison (Katrina Bowden), falls off a rock into the water, hitting her head. Tucker and Dale rescue her and take her back to their cabin. But her friends seem to think the two guys are psychotic and are going to kill her. But every time they try to rescue her, something bad happens, and it just starts looking worse and worse for Tucker and Dale.
The premise is excellent. It takes your basic hillbilly horror scenario and turns it on its head. What if those who look dangerous turn out to be harmless, and the ones who would end up as victims only get hurt because of their close-minded prejudice and stupidity? The only downside is that the trailer essentially shows the entire movie. There are a couple new things here and there, but it shows almost every major death and all the big scenes from beginning to end. Regardless, I still had a blast.
Alan Tudyk is probably the biggest name attached to this film, and he is great in it. However, the heart of the movie truly lies with Tyler Labine's Dale. He's such a loveable guy, and you can't help but feel for him. You just want him to succeed and want things to go right for him, and Labine acts the part very well. And when a certain moment comes between Dale and Allison, you're legitimately happy. That aside, the relationship between Tucker and Dale is nicely formed, as well. You can tell these two are great friends who would do anything for each other. And these guys aren't stereotypical hillbilly morons. They're written and acted as regular people, but maybe slightly dimmer (no more dumber than Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead). And there's a fantastic moment between the two near the climax of the film that's less silly and much more heartfelt and emotional.
The college kids, with the exception of two (Allison and one other), are essentially pointless. They're just there for a body count and to exacerbate things. They're a giant joke--walking cliches. The way they act and speak are merely extreme versions of what you would expect in your typical young-adults-in-the-woods characters. In other words, don't go in expecting getting to know these characters (against, except two), as they aren't your leads. Tucker and Dale are. But that's the whole point of the movie, so this is definitely not a negative thing.
If you can go into this film with as little knowledge as possible, even maybe without having seen the trailer, that would be best. But if you already have and are as excited for the movie as I was, it still won't disappoint. If you're a fan of horror/comedies, this is one of the best in years. I can't wait for this film to hit DVD, as I can tell it will become a new favorite watch, and I already want to show it to as many people as I can. Not to oversell the movie--I didn't constantly laugh out loud (there were maybe 2-3 times), but it's more about the quality and heart and fun of the film that truly grabbed me. So... I don't know if you can tell, but I kinda-sorta liked it.