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John Ary's Aint It Scary Reviews #24 Of 31!! TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL!!

John Ary here with another installment of Ain’t It Scary Reviews.  Today, a group of college kids take on two redneck bumpkins in a battle to the death.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil teaches a valuable lesson.  Never judge a book by its cover.  That’s true in the film and of the movie poster.  I was expecting a dumb gore fest featuring backwoods creeps and nubile blondes getting killed in awful ways.  I was only half right.

The movie opens with your typical horror set-up:  a quick hack and slash murder, a car full of college kids ready to have a good time in the woods, and a beat-up truck driven by two mysterious rednecks.  From there the film slowly shifts paradigms and perceptions.  I hate to say much more, because this is a movie that works best when you go in knowing as little as possible.  

The kills are setup to surprise and tickle.  People lose faces, fingers and torsos in horrific ways.  At first the deaths are unexpected and then slowly become more telegraphed, creating a giddy anticipation.  After awhile you know who’s going to get it, it just becomes a question of how.

The film’s pacing is brisk, never sitting in one place too long.  We’re given small intimate moments with the characters, where we get to learn about their motivations and feelings, but then we quickly move on to another setup for a bloody death.  

The tone reminds me of Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland.  Serious things happen to the characters and we fear for their safety, but bits of situational humor keep the mood light.  Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine deserve a lot of credit for creating characters that move beyond stereotypes.  Their clever performances are full of nuance and when bad stuff happens you can’t help but root for them.  It’s their emotional bond that helps to anchor the film.

In addition to some excellent kills, terrific pacing and strong performances, Tucker and Dale vs Evil has a lot more heart and humor than you would expect.  First-time writer/director Eli Craig gives us a typical cabin in the woods setting, fills it with all of the routine characters and then expertly turns the situation on its head.  By the end he’s delivered a bucket-full of gory kills, our perceptions about the characters are challenged and maybe we’ve learned a little lesson.  This is a trip into the woods I hope to take again very soon.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is streaming on Netflix. It’s also available on Blu-ray here.

Check back in tomorrow for another Ain’t It Scary Review as US consumers can’t eat enough of a strange white goo that bubbles up from the ground.

Here’s a look back at the Ain’t It Scary Review installments that you might have missed:

The Ground Rules to the Project
#1 Son of Frankenstein
#2 Scream, Blacula, Scream!
#3 Black Sabbath
#4 Maniac
#5 Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
#6 Invisible Invaders
#7 The Mummy’s Curse
#8 Lord of Illusions
#9 Night of the Demons
#10 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
#11 The House of the Devil
#12 Dr. Phibes Rises Again!
#13 Audition
#14 The Catman of Paris
#15 Kuroneko
#16 Chillerama
#17 Werewolf of London
#18 Tales from the Hood
#19 The Keep
#20 The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
#21 Equinox
#22 Night of the Living Dead
#23 Pit and the Pendulum

For more video news, reviews and interviews subscribe to the AICN Youtube channel and follow me on Twitter.


Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Why no Tucker and Dale?

    by Ciderman

    Finger Sandwiches!

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Best. Review. Ever. </sarcasm>

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    Where is it? We have a headline and no actual article.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:47 a.m. CST


    by unkempt_sock

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:48 a.m. CST


    by unkempt_sock

    Is that a thing?

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Well it aint scary

    by pearlanddean

    But it is hilarious and great fun to watch. But if this is supposed to be scary, then no wonder it was removed. Please try From Beyond, Re-Animator, Prince of Darkness or Halloween 3 for scary.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9:08 a.m. CST

    The article exists...

    by John Ary

    but the site has taken it hostage. While I come up with the ransom and make a call to Bryan Mills, here is the link to the video review on Youtube: Sorry for the problems.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9:10 a.m. CST

    This could start a new era at AICN.

    by Smerdyakov

    Instead of reviews, just throw out the title of an old horror film and let the talkbackers rip it to pieces. Hell, we're not so far away from that now.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9:43 a.m. CST


    by J

    This was an enjoyable rental, but not really a classic. Would have enjoyed it more if I'd maybe watched it with friends but, seeing as I don't have any, I guess that's a moot point... Might make a good double-feature with Cabin In The Woods... Just sayin' p.s. $20 to anyone who gets that quote...

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9:51 a.m. CST

    Sean Penn

    by Failure101

    I can see the article just fine. Anyway, I just watched this for the first time 2 days should after much harassment from my brother. Glad I did as I had some fun with it. My question is, the main Jock Douchebag kid is related to Sean Penn in some way, right? Yes, I've checked IMDB I just refuse to believe the answer I was given, he looks exactly like him.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Needed nudity

    by Ryusei

    It's a fun little movie, but it desparately needed nudity. It's worth seeing once, but largely forgettable after one viewing.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Watched it this morning...

    by billyhitchcock1

    ...and I absolutely loved it. The way it turned horror cliches on their heads without spoofing them was complete genius.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 10:28 a.m. CST

    It's spelled LOSE, not LOOSE, and the term is TELEGRAPHED, not TELEVISED

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    seriously, is writing ability not a requirement to be a contributor here? You're probably one of those people who pronounce nuclear as Nu-CU-lar, instead of the correct nu-CLE-ar

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST

    The only thing

    by DrGogol

    This movie has going for it is some decent acting talent and that it subverts the cliches of the cabin in the woods murder subgenre. It's like a less funny Cabin in the Woods with less to say. Not a very good film with an unsatisfying super-hot-chick-sees-past-the-disgusting-lead-character's-flaws ending. Not recommended.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Loved it

    by Horrorfanatic

    This movie was absolutely hilarious. It really did take all the stereotypes and flip them completely on their ears. If you're looking for straight horror, you obviously will need to look somewhere else. That much should be obvious from the title alone. If you're looking for a fun movie that will make you laugh, this one is definitely the right place to go.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 11:08 a.m. CST

    This was such an unexpected treat.

    by Danny Boil

    It's true; the less you know about this film before watching it, the better. And if you've seen WAY too many "slasher in the woods" films, then you'll really appreciate the humor.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 11:18 a.m. CST


    by John Ary

    Thanks for the heads up. Will update ASAP.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 12:26 p.m. CST

    I love Tucker and Dale!!

    by adeceasedfan

    You don't like pancakes? ROTFL!! Tyler Labine has my heart forever for his role as Sock in Reaper. I even watched NBC's monkey show because he was in it. Love him.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Great movie!

    by DuncanDisorderly

    I had neither seen nor heard of this movie. I saw the DVD on sale in a local branch of W. H. Smith and I noticed Alan Tudyk on the cover. Being a huge fan of Mr.Tudyk, I immediately handed over the £5 asking price. I was not disappointed.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 3:45 p.m. CST

    This movie is so so good

    by Dan Anthony

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 3:45 p.m. CST

    a friend and I were just hammered

    by macheesmo3

    so we ended up at his girlfriends house to drink more beer and watch netflix, after flipping through the menu we decided that Alan Tudyk does no wrong so we watched this.... and pooped ourselves laughing!! I love this movie, it has so much give a damn packed into the 90 minutes. and as stated above, would make an excellent double feature with Cabin in the Woods.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Also stream available for free with Amazon Prime

    by decypher44

    Great movie. Saw it a while back and ready to revisit.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    The Stuff!

    by tangcameo

    Woohoo! Tunin' in tomorrow!

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    Great Film

    by aceldama

    Saw this a few weeks ago on Netflix and loved it. It is horror comedy done right, which is a rare thing. Alan Tudyk is good, but as with pretty much everything he is in, Tyler Labine steals the show. Coincidentally, I had just watched A Good Old Fashioned Orgy the day before, so loved seeing his face (and just his face this time) in another movie, and being the best part of it. This is a note-perfect movie.

  • Oct. 25, 2012, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Violent on the surface only

    by NativeGaijin

    What surprised me about this movie is that despite the gore and violence, at its core it is a surprisingly sweet love story. At the end, you can actually believe that an overweight hillbilly like Dale could end up with a girl like Allison. I've introduced this movie to people (especially girls) who usually can't stand horror/slasher movies and they universally love it. Tudyk and Labine do a good job of selling the lifelong friends who share a modest dream of owning a "vacation home" in the woods. I would love to see a sequel to this with the boys venturing into the city (possibly at Allison's invitation), only to be caught in some kind of urban horror situation.

  • Oct. 25, 2012, 7:55 a.m. CST

    One year later, still waiting for the part where EVIL comes in.

    by Broderick

    Still a great movie-bad title.

  • Oct. 25, 2012, 10:33 a.m. CST

    This is a great great movie

    by Big_Daddy_Nero

    One of those movies I could watch any time, picking up at any spot in the movie if I happen to see it on. It's that good. And all the little touches.. the finger at the end.. I almost lost it, laughing so much. If you have not seen this movie, you owe it to yourself to see it. This movie deserves all the love it can get, and I wholeheartedly concur with the idea of a sequel. Because it's the characters which make this movie work, and those two characters could be transported into just about any situation and I would love watching them do their thing.

  • And the director is Sally Field's son. Whodathunkit.