So, here we are, another day where Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness features a film that I’ve already seen, this time it was ‘Land of the Dead’ (2005), and you can see James’s review here. From my end, I’m following the same approach as yesterday, where I take the next year, this time 2010, and search for the first best reviewed film and that also can be seen at Letterboxd. This time I stumbled upon a movie that I was kinda curious to check out and now I have the chance to see it, ‘Tucker and Dale vs Evil’ (2010), and what did I think? Let’s see.
Wow, I didn’t expect something this good from such a random selection. The film may fall between the referential horror craze that’s been going on, and I don’t mean the kind that ‘Scream’ (1997) started, but the kind that is much more subtle, that it’s about the conventions and how we deal with them, with stuff like ‘Cabin in the Woods’ (2012) among the most famous examples. Here we have a similar experience where we are in a horror film that is never actually a horror film if it wasn’t for the misfortune and the wrong-headed mindset of a bunch of people regarding the appearance and the way people act into their thinking of how people truly are. Well, besides all this bullshit that I’m talking about, basically this movie is about a couple of hillbillies confronted with a group of frat college kids, only that the pair of hillbillies aren’t bad, they just exist and be near them, and the younglings overreact, mainly based on clichés from horror films and bad personal experiences from one character in particular, and not only that, the whole film is also damn funny, playing with the sensibilities of the hillbillies and the wrong concepts that the group of dumb college guys have of them. The hillbillies are perhaps the best acted and most convincing that I’ve seen, as they are portrayed not like simpletons, but like real people, that have a better understanding of life and know how to receive and perceive the little that they have to be happy, that is specially touching when they arrive to their vacation home, a rundown cabin in the woods that would scare anyone, but that they see as their way of going upwards and into a better future.
The movie starts in a strange way, with an unfulfilled promise, the fact that there’s an evil lurking in the dark, that isn’t the one that we expect, but not only it becomes apparent after we’ve finished the film, but we also don’t care, it’s maybe one of the weakest elements of the film, how the final twist find its way into the beginning but never ties up with the ending is kinda sad. But the movie moves forward quite quickly with the presentation of our dumb teenagers and then the lurking presence of Tucker and Dale, and the shift done from those to them is so slight and revolutionary in a way that it’s just amazing how we don’t ever feel cheated or given anything but the truth. The teenagers go to their lake to take a swim, while our two best friends go fishing, and there they catch a glimpse of one of the women, who slips and falls to the water, only to be rescued by Dale, one of the funniest and most heartwarming cute characters ever put to film, even if he is a fat and bearded hillbilly. When they announce to the rest of the teenagers that they’ve ‘got their friend’, they run away out of fear, as they mistake their help as a menace, and hence the fun starts, the awkward and over the top talk from the teenagers contrast with the truth and warming speeches, as well as the talks about dreams and hopes that these two characters have with the girl, who is now conscious and finding that she has a great time in the cabin in the middle of the woods.
After a while the concept becomes clear, the young people start to die in very stupid manners, mainly because they are scared and really wrong about their assumptions, and they start believing that the real culprits are the two nice adult men. How important is a film like this to never truly malign them ever again, as much as they are in the movies of yesteryear and nowadays, and they even give them not only humanity but also real intelligence, as well as a concept of what life truly is about, something that has been tainted in the much more wealthy and luckier generations. I loved the characters, and even if the ending is kinda weak (the ending twist more than anything, the final scene is the sweetest thing ever filmed), I think this film is highly recommended for those who think that there’s nothing else to do in horror nowadays, but please, please, don’t imitate this movie, this was already done, I couldn’t possibly take any sequels or take-offs, just leave this one as it is, a perfect movie about the subject that it tries to be about.