When it comes to the portrayal of hillbillies on the big screen, there are usually two archetypes: the dim-witted but sweet-natured yokel or the raving, homicidal psychopath. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil poses the question of what would happen if two yokels were mistaken for psycho killers. As the movie shows, the result would be incredibly stupid yet immensely watchable.
Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are fixing up their new “vacation home” in the woods. Unfortunately, their renovations get interrupted by a group of college kids on an ill-fated camping trip. When one of them (30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden) injures her head while skinny-dipping, Tucker and Dale rescue her and nurse her back to health.
Their efforts to return her to safety are thwarted by her paranoid friends, who must’ve spent their childhoods watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deliverance and every other hicksploitation film from the ’70s, who are determined not to be the victims of killer hillbillies. Her friends instead spend most of the movie accidentally offing each other.
For his characters’ demises, co-writer/director Eli Craig (aka Sally Field’s son) comes up with the sort of ridiculous Rube Goldberg setups you would usually find in Final Destination movies. More anarchically absurd than cleverly constructed, this silly, blood-soaked farce certainly stretches its one-joke premise as far as it can go. However, this film preaches the credo of not judging a book by its cover. Or a man by his overalls.