Tucker and Dale are two best friends on vacation at their dilapidated mountain house, who are mistaken for murderous backwoods hillbillies by a group of obnoxious, preppy college kids. When one of the students gets separated from her friends, the boys try to lend a hand, but as the misunderstanding grows, so does the body count.
Slapdash Scary Movie cycle aside, the slasher genre has proven fairly resistant to effective satire, mainly because the movies themselves already go so far over the top. (After Jason goes to space, where else can you possibly go?) Arriving amidst some monster film festival buzz, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil scores big laughs by slyly inverting the formula, casting the standard backwoods maniacs as bewildered everymen surrounded by accident-prone teens. While it may basically be a one-joke movie, it sustains that joke for a remarkably long time. Kicking off with an effective Blair Witch jab, the story follows Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), two good-natured good ol' boys with aims of fixing up their rickety cabin in the woods into a vacation home. Before they've emptied their first six-pack, they find themselves besieged by a group of stereotypical college kids who start dying in increasingly bizarre ways around them. As the bodies stack like cordwood, the duo's obliviousness only grows. First-time director-cowriter Eli Craig clearly knows his subject material well, trotting out the skinny-dipping coeds and conveniently placed sharp implements with relish, particularly with a wood chipper that really should have received a supporting actor credit. Clever as the concept is, though, it wouldn't stretch nearly as far without the performances, most notably Labine as a Bigfootish idiot savant and 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden as a Final Girl fully aware of the situation's absurdity. Although the invention may sputter at times, Tucker & Dale provides enough amiable chuckles and ridiculous gore to satisfy even the snootiest genre fan. For the sequel, can we get them near a rocket? --Andrew Wright