Tucker & Dale vs. Evil Blu-ray ReviewNovember 19, 2011
I had more fun watching Tucker & Dale vs. Evil than I've had watching a movie in a long time.
It's a movie where fun seems to be absolutely infectious, and the audience's enjoyment just snowballs with every quip remark and every bloody disaster captured on the screen.
Tucker & Dale tells the story of a couple of rednecks (played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, respectively) who decide to spend the weekend fixing up their new vacation home in the woods. At the same time, a group of college kids are hanging out near Tucker and Dale's cabin.
When the kids go skinny dipping near Tucker and Dale's fishing spot, one of them, Allison (played by Katrina Bowden) falls into the lake and is rescued by Tucker. However, it looks like a kidnapping to the rest of the kids who mistake Tucker and Dale as a couple of murderous psychopaths.
The result is a series of increasingly-gory and hilarious encounters as the kids try to "rescue" Allison while Tucker and Dale spend the movie trying to figure out what's going on around them.
Tucker and Dale has drawn comparisons to Shaun of the Dead, which can be said of just about every horror-comedy that's come out over the last seven years. For this movie, though, those comparisons are warranted, as it's easily the funniest gorefest I've seen since Edgar Wright's now-classic zombie spoof.
And, to be honest, I'm surprised it took someone this long to do a really great "kids lost in the wood" horror spoof. The movie world has been littered for decades by ridiculous stories of backwoods hillbillies or mutated hermits picking off 20-somethings in really awful ways (the Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes series come to mind).
Director and co-writer Eli Craig has put together a superb movie that delivers on laughs and turns up the gore-o-meter to eleven. Indeed, special kudos go out to Craig and co-writer Morgan Jurgenson for putting together the best wood-chipper scene committed to celluloid since Fargo.
Tudyk and Labine are each fantastic in the title roles, again inviting comparisons to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's performances in Shaun of the Dead.
The fun of Tudyk and Labine's performances, though, lies in watching them deal with simple misunderstandings that carry truly catastrophic results.
Bowden is also extremely good in the role of Allison, the one person in the movie who knows that Tucker and Dale aren't all that bad. She brings a sweetness that immediately endears itself on the audience. At the same time, she's more-than-capable of keeping up with both the witty repartee and the blood-soaked mayhem surrounding her.
My only complaint about the movie is that many of the misunderstandings that set the action pieces in motion are a little too Three's Company for my tastes – at any moment I expect to see Don Knotts pop up wearing a ridiculous neck tie.
Having said that, though, this is a comedy. If the situations weren't a little bit ridiculous it would certainly seem as though something was missing.
On the whole, though, this is an extremely fun movie that comes very very highly recommended by me.
Even in an age where independent films filmed for $5,000 turn out looking better than some Oscar contenders, the term "low-budget filmmaking" still has a negative connotation. I can't think of a recent movie that's done more to buck that perception than Tucker & Dale, and its visual presentation on Blu-ray only reinforces it.
Magnolia brings the movie to high-definition with a 1080P AVC-encoded digital-to-digital transfer (the film was shot with the Red One HD video camera) looks magnificent, with sharply-defined blacks and vibrant but never overpowering colors.
Every detail of every nuance in the film has been captured in clear, lifelike quality, making this one of the better visual transfers I've ever seen on a Blu-ray.
The audio is fantastic as well, boasting a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that makes the big sounds of the movie even bigger. The buzz of a chainsaw, the whir of the aforementioned wood chipper, and the sound of a lawnmower grinding against flesh (by the way: best use of a lawn mower in a movie I've ever seen) are all sickeningly lifelike and add incredible ambiance to an already stellar-sounding movie.
Beyond the Feature
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil comes with a variety of special features.
I most enjoyed the audio commentary featuring Craig, Tudyk, and Labine. It's clear from listening to these guys talk about the movie that it was a labor of love in just about every way imaginable. As commentaries go, this is one of the better ones I've heard in recent years, as its participants manage to entertain and inform without falling prey to the dreaded dead air that accompanies commentary tracks with superstar celebrities.
Also worth noting is the outtakes section, featuring some of the funniest bloopers and outtakes I've seen on a supplementary feature in a LONG time. These outtakes rival the ones you'll find on the average Judd Apatow movie, and if you don't necessarily make the connection then trust me: That's the highest compliment I can bestow upon an outtake reel.
The complete listing of bonus features is as follows:
All bonus features are presented in High-Def.
Magnolia scores another win with the Tucker & Dale vs. Evil Blu-ray release. Film fans in general should enjoy this picture, and genre fans in particular should absolutely eat it up.
If nothing else, you'll definitely be more careful when doing household chores with power tools from here on out.
- Jason Jarman
Shop for Tucker & Dale vs. Evil on Blu-ray at a discounted price from Amazon.com (November 29, 2011 release date).
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