Making a horror comedy is hard to do, in fact, just making a good horror alone, is an achievement in itself; especially in the landscape of remakes and forgettable cash-ins. The sub-genre of the horror comedy has grown in recent years due to the success of Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Slither and the recent Krampus, though it must be said that the genre began with Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series as well as other classics like Gremlins I & II, Re-Animator and The Return of the Living Dead, amongst others. Not every horror comedy can be like Shaun of the Dead, with every hit like Shaun of the Dead there are the hundreds that don’t hit the mark: whether due to being scary enough or just being not funny enough. Not everyone can manage to splice two polar opposite genres together to make an audience entertained.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil works as a horror comedy mostly due to the skillful direction by Eli Craig and the strong script by Morgan Jurgenson and Craig. The premise of the film is so simple and watertight, two lovable hicks Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) buy a derelict vacation home deep in the rural West Virginia with a plan to renovate the place and make it into their dream home. At the same time, a group of college kids descend upon the woods on a camping trip. Instead of massacring the adolescents like you would expect from the genre in films such as The Burning or the Friday the 13th franchise, the two hillbillies are the unlikely heroes of the film.
There is a nice balance between the absurd, slapstick gore-soaked mayhem and the sweet-natured innocence of Tucker and Dale, the difference in tone is very subtle and contrast feels organic and natural. As the title of the film suggests, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil does not take itself too seriously and can be enjoyed by a wider audience; the horror elements are so outlandish that it is hard to see how anyone could be offended by them. For an era, in which most American comedies try too hard to be tasteless and often feel sloppily put together, Tucker & Dale is a refreshing comedy that is both charming and memorable.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is on SyFy/HD at 1:40 Am on Saturday 19th March