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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - Blu-ray Review

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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - blu-ray review

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4 stars

Bringing a welcome change to the hill-meets-billy horror formula, writer/director Eli Craig’s Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is a hilarious spoof of backwoods terror.  After waiting some 40-plus years, we have a movie that celebrates the southerner as the unsung hero without crossing the expected horror lines…just changing the viewpoint.  Finally, the regionally-challenged locals are the heroes and the wrongheaded Spring Breakers are, well, the villains.  It’s a movie that delivers the horrorific goods with a great sense of humor that grows out of a simple misunderstanding solidified by a maddening surreal series of unfortunate (and über bloody) events.

Two well-meaning but dim-witted hicks, Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), - spending the weekend in their recently purchased rundown shack – come across a group of college students at a gas station.  Dale, finding himself drawn to Allison (Katrina Bowden), decides to approach and chat her up.  The problem is his inferiority complex and he completely embarrasses himself in front of her and her friends - Chad (Jesse Moss), Chloe (Chelan Simmons), Chuck (Travis Nelson), Jason (Brandon Jay McLaren), Naomi (Christie Liang), Todd (Alex Arsenault), Mitch (Adam Beauchesne) and Mike (Joseph Allan Sutherland) – before rejoining Tucker.  The two groups go their separate ways…which, as it turns out, is the same neck of the woods in West Virginia.

Their paths cross again.  After rescuing Allison from a nasty skinny dipping accident, Tucker & Dale are thought to have kidnapped the missing college student and her friends, completely wrong as she is resting peacefully in Tucker & Dale’s shack, come after them with every weapon imaginable.  They are hell-bent on Allison’s “rescue” from these two hillbillies and this unfortunate and humorous misunderstanding leads to a series of slapstick accidental deaths – including impalements, headfirst wood chipper diving, bloody disembowelments, and a nasty lawn mower face shredding – as the two parties try to understand exactly what is happening.

Written by Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is a smartly scripted battle of survival between two entirely different camps and lifestyles.  It’s an uncommon civil war of sorts that sparks more hilarity than the usual comedy of earthbound errors.  Sure, it’s a one-off joke that’s been extended to a feature length movie, but it works a hell of a lot better than you’d think it should.  Upon repeat viewings, the film reveals just how much of macabre masterpiece of mayhem that it actually is.  Each cliché is dusted off, carefully examined, and then upended by the double-edged sword that is Craig’s perfectly-paced script and the sweetness of Tudyk and Labine’s performances.

The rural southerner is a great caricature for the American horror formula.  Brown tobacco stains their unshaven chins, bloodshot eyes wide open at the crack of dawn, and chainsaws are their favorite toy to wildly sling around and chase scantily clad teenagers on Spring Break with.  It’s a trope that has been relatively unchanged for many a long year.  Dare I suggest that even audiences are tired of it?  Consider the disappearing revenue of certain horror entries into the canon as the proof in the proverbial pudding, Earl.  Still, we plow madly ahead with remakes (Straw Dogs) and reboots (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) that keeps the crazy-eyed hillbilly with his fists aimed at the sky and his mouth full of spittle.

That is, until now.

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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - blu-ray reviewMPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence, language and brief nudity.
Director
: Eli Craig
Writer: Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson
Cast:
Tyler Labine; Alan Tudyk; Katrina Bowden; Jesse Moss
Genre: Horror | Comedy
Tagline:
The perfect love story... with a high body count...
Memorable Movie Quote: "He's heavy for half a guy."
Distributor:
Magnet Releasing
Official Site:
www.magnetreleasing.com/tuckeranddalevsevil
Release Date: August 26, 2011 (video-on-demand)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 29, 2011

Synopsis: Tucker & Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.

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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - blu-ray review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 29, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live
Playback: Region A

Cinematographer David Geddes does Canada proud by shooting this blood-soaked sucker on the Red One HD video camera.  The 1080p/AVC- encoded transfer is an impressive digitally handled picture.  Fine detailed is practically overwhelming with the grains in the forest and fibers in the clothing being abundant.  Flesh tones are warm and visually full of detail.  The contrast is edged-up a bit (which is a good thing) and there are definite breaks in the colors and impressive shadows that are completely at play throughout the feature.  The vivid sense of the picture continues deep into the soundtrack which is presented in a wonderfully vibrant lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and fully showcases the sound design.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • If you laughed your ass off during the film (which I did), chances are good that you will laugh even harder at the commentary (which I also did).  Provided by writer/director Eli Craig and actors Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, their recollections of the shooting of the film is punctuated by anecdotes that will have you bent over with laughter.

Special Features:

Magnolia has made for themselves a name with a series of great releases that mostly do not shy away from great supplemental material.  Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is no different.  Leading off the set is a short making-of featurette that goes behind the scenes with found footage and interviews from its stars.  There’s also a cut of the film that strictly looks at the events of the film from the Spring Breakers point-of-view; hilarious and smart all at the same time.  There’s your usual promo and a gag reel that captures the hilarity of the shoot.

  • Making of ‘Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil’ (13 min)
  • Tucker and Dale ARE Evil: The College Kids' Point of View (17 min)
  • Outtakes (8 min)
  • HDNet: A Look at ‘Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil’ (5 min)
  • 97 Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer  

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