Today's Pick: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
The story is a pretty simple one: a bunch of kids are going camping and run into a duo of bizarre rednecks. However, the rednecks are actually just two best friends who are fixing up their newly obtained vacation cabin. Because of some misunderstandings and a scary story about a redneck massacre that took place in the woods about twenty years prior, the kids treat the pair like they popped up out of Deliverance. This leads to a whole bunch of splatstick comedy, and an interesting reversal of typical horror protagonist/antagonist roles.
While the premise of the film is certainly great, it's the charm of the two leads (Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk) that makes the movie so endearing. Labine is the ultimate teddy bear as Dale, making his social awkwardness incredibly relatable without ever feeling pitiful. Tudyk plays Tucker as a straight man that's way out of his depth, and his friendship with Dale is one of the strongest and most believable relationships ever portrayed in a horror movie.
Though there is plenty of humor and goofy gore throughout the film's running time, it's the characters that elevate this film. In horror films, you will often tolerate less-than-stellar acting in order to enjoy an entertaining premise or to see some enjoyable effects work. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil has both of those elements, but never uses them as a crutch for poorly written characters or substandard acting. It really does hit every mark you want, and happens to do so without any cynicism or snark.
This is a film I've shown to my non-horror loving friends and they ate it up. It's something that anyone who loves good comedy and good characters will like. This is a film you can pop in for all of your friends who don't like "scary movies." They'll love it, and you'll still get to see people impaled and chopped into pieces. Everyone wins.
Tomorrow's film has one of the best titles of all time. Spoiler alert: It's not Octopussy. See you then!
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