Film: Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
"Oh, hidey-ho officer, we've had a doozy of a day..."Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
is a horror-comedy
film made in 2010.
Quick, just how many times you have heard setups like this before? Bunch of college kids are going into a forest in West Virginia to party and generally have a good time. On Memorial Day weekend
, of course. On their way to the place they encounter some weird hillbillies at the gas station. Soon things escalate and they find themselves locked in a bloody combat
involving the rural against the urban. Now let's take a twist on that so that the kids are not
the oppressed protagonists. Here, it's the hillbillies
Meet Tucker and Dale. They are two best friends who have taken a little vacation to fix a cabin in the woods which Tucker has bought. On their way there, they ran into the aforementioned college kids at the gas station. They inadvertently give the wrong first impression and the kids are convinced that they are typical creepy backwood hicks like the ones in movies. Later on our two heroes meet the kids again when they are fishing. They accidentally scare the female lead of this film, Allison, when she's about to go for a swim and she almost drowns. They save her, but again they give the wrong impression about themselves and the college kids think they have actually kidnapped her
. Several accidents and more misunderstandings
later, the planned vacation goes to south big time for our duo as they have to put their best against... EVIL
the killer hillbillies sub-genre
, this 2010 horror comedy film also works in aesops
for proper communication and against prejudice.
Be careful around woodchippers, all of you:
- Abuse Mistake: The college kids and the police simply assume that Dale is doing terrible things to Allison. It doesn't help that some of the college kids overhear an out-of-context conversation where Dale boasts of having "beat the crap out of" her and mentions wanting to go back to the cabin to "finish her off" (he was actually talking about how he was beating her at a trivia game).
- Accidental Misnaming: Dale does this to himself when tongue-tied around Allison.
- Adorkable: Most of Dale's interactions with Allison come across as this.
- Aggressive Categorism: With his paranoia and prejudice against "hillbillies", Chad makes an example of the scary and not at all amusing kind.
- An Aesop: Poor Communication Kills. Literally, in this case.
- Ax-Crazy: Chad gradually descends into this, ultimately becoming a nutjob with a hard-on for hillbilly murder.
- An Axe to Grind: Chad's weapon of choice at first.
- Bait and Switch: In terms of perspective - the movie starts off following Allison's group of friends, but switches to the hillbillies after the groups meet at the country store.
- Bare Your Midriff: Allison, who doesn't even button her fly all the way up to expose more midriff.
- Batter Up: Subverted. Dale finds a baseball bat and suggests using it as a weapon, but discovers it's hollow and made of plastic.
- Between My Legs: The shot of Tucker and Dale holding the woodchippered guy by the legs and the sheriff in the background.
- Big Damn Heroes: Attempted several times throughout the course of the movie. However, except for Dale rescuing Allison, this only succeeds in escalating a nonexistent situation to a deadly one.
- Black and White Insanity: Chad keeps insisting on a black and white narrative with himself as the good guy and the hillbillies as the villains.
- Black Dude Dies First: Defied by Jason, who deliberately avoids danger of any kind until Allison's tea summit, by which point most of the white students are dead.
- Blood Knight: Chad.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: Well, they're a little guilty on one count: they are liable for the Sheriff's death, as they knew that the beam was unsafe. It wasn't deliberate though - they'd just neglected to repair it with the rest of the stuff going on that day, and weren't able to warn the cop until too late.
- Bloody Hilarious
- Both Sides Have a Point: Allison is really trying for this one, in her attempts to mediate.
- Book Dumb: Subverted by Dale. He never finished school and thinks of himself as a total idiot as a result, but he's actually extremely intelligent and might even have a Photographic Memory. At the very least he's stated to always win trivia games.
- Bottomless Magazines: Something like 30 shots are fired during a stand-off scene...from a 6-shot revolver.
- Butt Monkey: Tucker, who accumulates all of the nonfatal injuries throughout the film. Dale comes through without a scratch.
- California Doubling: Alberta for West Virginia.
- Cassandra Truth: Tucker and Dale immediately understand that no one is going to believe what really happened at the cabin.
- Cellphones Are Useless: Chad breaks Chloe's phone to prevent her from calling for help since a) he thinks it will be useless anyway since cellphones are always useless in horror movies and he thinks they are in one and b) he doesn't want to lose the chance to be The Hero who defeats the evil hillbillies and saves the girl.
- Chainsaw Good: Tucker accidentally cuts through a hornet's nest with a chainsaw and accidentally charges through the co-eds while swinging the chainsaw wildly at the swarming hornets. Later Dale has a chainsaw-versus-pipe fight with Chad.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Chamomile tea. Good thing the lumber mill happened to have some laying around.
- The poorly fixed column in the cabin.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- Dale's thing for being able to remember any bit of trivia.
- Inverted by Chad's axe. Chad practices throwing it several times, but it's Dale who actually throws and hits something important with it. He's shocked that it actually worked.
- Child by Rape: Chad believes his father was one of the victims of the Memorial Day Massacre. Actually, he was conceived when one of the perpetrators raped his mother, the sole survivor.
- Cobweb Jungle: Tucker's cabin when he and Dale enter it. They proclaim proudly that it's just a little dusty.
- Coincidental Broadcast: Print variant. The room in the sawmill where Dale and Allison take refuge just happens to contain a twenty-year-old newspaper with a front-page photo of one of the Memorial Day Massacre perpetrators under arrest, revealing that he looks exactly like Chad.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Conveyor Belt of Doom: Chad ties Allison to a log at the abandoned saw mill and when the climactic duel starts, he starts the machinery there, putting Allison in this position.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: And accidental ones at that.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Tucker's attempt at giving Dale a pep-talk at the start.
are a good-lookin' man... more or less. You got a damn good heart. [Beat
] That's two things right there.
- Damsel in Distress: When Tucker and Dale pick up Allison from the lake, the other college kids think she's in this position. She is put into this role for real in the climax.
- Deadly Dodging: Tucker dodges Mike's tackle when he bends down to pick up more wood, sending Mike into the wood chipper. Later he dodges Jason's weed whacker, so it goes right into Naomi's face. It's subverted here, though, since she survives the weed whacker assault, only to die later when the cabin burns down.
- Deadly Road Trip: A deconstruction of the trope for the teens, though it's deconstructed by virtue of being played straight from the POV of Tucker and Dale.
- Deconstructive Parody: The film does this for Hillbilly Horrors by making the hillbillies the heroic protagonists. The college kids only think that the Good Ol' Boy main characters are evil, and end up killing themselves in Bloody Hilarious ways through their own stupidity, before one of them (the guy who would otherwise be the male hero in a typical slasher film) goes Ax-Crazy out of prejudice against the hillbillies.
- Decoy Protagonist: The college kids. One of them's even the Big Bad.
- Disney Villain Death: Chad. Subverted; he lives at least long enough to kill the news reporter and cameraman who appear on the scene after the incident is over.
- Distracted by the Sexy: When Dale is digging a hole for the outhouse, Allison asks him what he is doing, after changing into an extreme Bare Your Midriff ensemble. Captivated by her abdomen, Dale struggles for a while to understand what she's saying.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?
It's true, Chad... You're half hillbilly.
It can't be. They lied to me. How could they?
- Dogged Nice Guy: Dale.
- Don't Go in the Woods: Deadly accidents and misunderstandings happen there.
- Dumb Is Good: Tucker and Dale are both rather oblivious to the rather obvious signs of what's going on around them, Dale in particular. When they first enter their new cabin, Tucker sees what appear to be human ribs dangling from an improvised wind chime. His response? Some kind of archeologist must have lived there. And when Dale sees all the newspaper clippings from the Memorial Day Massacre, both of their attention is drawn to the 'Buy 3 get 2 free' coupon for a local chili dog shop that doesn't have an expiration date. It's almost enviable how the two can move into what's clearly a decrepit cabin in the woods formerly owned by a psychopath and yet be overjoyed at finally having a vacation home that just needs some fixing-up.
- The End... Or Is It?/Sequel Hook: The prologue, if remembered at the end of the film, implies that Chad has survived his assumed death and become a full-scale Slasher Movie villain.
- Entitled to Have You: Chad hits on Allison in an extremely creepy and aggressive way when the others are going to swim, acting as if he is entitled to her because they are both 'special'. This is the first hint of his true evil and unstable nature.
- Evil Sounds Deep: In the Tucker and Dale ARE Evil recut on the DVD, Tucker and Dale's voices are noticeably lowered to make them seem like monstrous psychos.
- Fanservice: Allison undressing for a swim and Chloe topless(distantly) during said swim.
- Final Girl: Allison, thanks to her friends. But a rare variation when the "killers" aren't trying to kill the girl.
- Fingore: When the college kids catch Tucker, Chad severs two of his fingers.
Dale: "His bowling fingers!"
- Flipping the Bird: "Press pass this!"
- Foreshadowing. When Chad successfully throws his hatchet into a tree for the first time, he uses the same motions as the hillbilly murderer when he threw a circular saw blade into a college kid's face at the start of the Memorial Day Massacre 20 years ago. The shots are even taken from exactly the same angle.
- Found Footage: The prologue showing a local TV reporter and cameraman being murdered.
- Freudian Excuse: Chad's hatred for hillbillies comes from the fact that they attacked his parents 20 years ago. Well, one of them anyways.
- Gag Echo:
: That's a good idea, Dale.
'Oh, hidey-ho officer, we've had a doozy of a day. There we were, mindin' our own business. Just doin' some chores around the house, when kids started killin' themselves all over my property'? He would have to be a moron to believe that, Dale!
- Then, when the kids bring the sheriff to the cabin:
Tucker: We have had a doozy of a day. There we were, uh, mindin' our own business, makin' some improvements to my new house, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, these kids start killin' themselves all over my property.
Sheriff: You must think that I'm some kind of moron to believe a story like that.
- Genre Deconstruction: The film is one for Hillbilly Horrors, featuring the rural hicks as the heroes and the college kids as the villains. However, it's also a partial Reconstruction, since Chad, the actual villain of the movie is revealed to actually be an evil hillbilly who turns into a crazed killer by the end. He just doesn't stereotypically look like one. His origin story, in which his crazy hillbilly father raped his mother (resulting in his conception), is a straight example.
- Genre Savvy: Some of the kids point out that they should just call the police and leave, but Chad forces them to stay, convinced that they had to confront the hillbillies by themselves. One of them does manage to drive back and get the sheriff, but unfortunately he didn't last too long.
- Genre Shift: Spending most of the film parodying the horror genre through a Perspective Flip and a noticeable lack of any actual evil, only for the last act to be a more traditional comedy-horror with a definite villain.
- Gentle Giant: Dale. He doesn't even like fishing.
- Gosh Hornet: While sawing a tree, Tucker accidentally strikes a hornets nest. Hilarity Ensues. And one fatality.
- Groin Attack: Narrowly averted when Dale accidentally triggers the trap set by the college kids.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: One of the college kids, when he attempts to attack Tucker and ends up in the woodchipper by accident. Tucker and Dale drag his legs out in shock, but the local sheriff arrives at precisely this point.
- Hanlon's Razor: In full, full force for most of the film.
- Hidden Depths:
- Dale is a trivia genius and much more bold than his timid personality would suggest.
- And despite her looking like the embodiment of Slashers Prefer Blondes, Allison reveals that she grew up on a farm, and was no stranger to digging a hole for an outhouse.
- Hillbilly Horrors: Inverted and deconstructed, as Tucker and Dale are the heroes. But then it turns out that the Memorial Day Massacre was perpetrated by some real psycho hillbillys, and the homicidal Chad is the son of one of them.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: All of the co-eds are killed by their own or each other's hand.
- Hollywood Darkness
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: It's Memorial Day! Just like it was 20 years ago...
- How We Got Here: The movie opens with found footage of a news reporter and her cameraman being killed by an insane Two-Faced man. The viewer will realize as the movie ends that the insane killer was Chad.
- Idiot Ball: Jason is understandably content to keep to the sidelines for most of the movie, even declining requests to go after Tucker and Dale. Then he and Chloe try to pull Big Damn Heroes, and it kills them and gets the entire cabin burned down.
- Idiot Savant: Dale has a remarkable memory, but little education.
- I Just Shot Myself In The Face: One of the college kids is aiming for Tucker and Dale with a gun, but can't get it to fire. Dale, panicking, gives him a bit of useful, albeit situationally mistimed advice to switch the safety off. The kid frantically struggles with it while looking down the barrel and ends up shooting himself in the face.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mitch manages to kill himself by running into a tree branch. Later, Todd trips and fall on his makeshift spear.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Dale manages to sever the rope tying Allison by throwing an axe. He is visibly surprised at the result. It is also worth pointing out that he failed to cut it with a chain saw moments earlier.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Tucker drinks and pours beer on his hornet stings and severed finger stumps.
- In the Blood. Invoked by Chad early on to say that all hillbillies are evil. Later, it turns out that Chad, with his murderous rage and rapist overtures towards Allison, is the son of a murderous hillbilly and was conceived via rape.
- I Owe You My Life: Allison stays with Tucker and Dale for a time as a way to pay them back for saving her life.
- If I Can't Have You: Chad would rather kill Allison then let her fall in love with a hillbilly.
- Improvised Weapon: Jason with a weed whacker. It does not end well for Naomi.
- Jerkass: Chad.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Chad goes from frat boy on a camping trip to Ax Crazy awfully quick.
- Kick the Dog: More like Threaten to Shoot the Dog, but still....
- Knight Templar: Chad.
- Like Father, Like Son: Chad, the rape-child of a psycho killer, who becomes a psycho killer himself. It's unknown whether the film is considering him genetically predisposed to evil, or if it was his hatred for hillbillies that brought it on, however. On the one hand, his mother being institutionalized and his being brought to the spot of the incident couldn't have been good for his mental health. On the other hand, he was a jerk and very creepy even before formally meeting Tucker and Dale.
- Lock and Load Montage: Dale gets one at the saw mill when he is going to rescue Allison.
Dale: You want a killer hillbilly? I'll give you a killer hillbilly.
- Machete Mayhem:
- When Dale goes to rescue Tucker, he arms himself with a machete.
- Also used by one of the hillbillies during the Memorial Day Massacre.
- Man on Fire: Chad accidentally sets Jason on fire. Despite Dale and Tucker's attempts at advice, Chloe just makes it worse by dousing him with the first liquid she could grab, which happened to be highly flammable moonshine.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: The first six people to die are men. Granted, as this is a deconstruction of typical horror movies, they're putting themselves in danger rather than being hunted down, so it's somewhat understandable that the women would be safe until the gender ratio started evening out.
- Mistaken for Gay: When the Sheriff stops Tucker and Dale in their truck at the beginning of the film, an unfortunate mishap leaves Dale topless and looking as if he's performing a sexual act on Tucker.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Tucker and Dale being mistaken for killer hillbillies is the entire premise of the film.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: The hillbillies, especially Dale.
- Moral Myopia: What Chad considers the area to be, since it's a "survival of the fittest" situation out there (according to him).
- Murder by Cremation: Happened to the father of one of the college kids, 20 years before the film starts. Or so he thinks.
- My Car Hates Me: When trying to escape from Chad at his Ax Craziest, Dale struggles to get the car started.
- Nail 'Em: When Chad threatens to shoot Dale's dog Jangers, Tucker hands him a nail gun for distraction while he goes for the rescue. In typical movie fashion, it works just like a gun.
- Name and Name: Mixed with Versus Title.
- Nice Guy: Tucker and especially Dale are so well-meaning and friendly you can't help but feel bad for them as their vacation falls apart.
- Not What It Looks Like: The entire premise of the films.
- Not with the Safety on, You Won't: One of the co-eds, Chuck, tries to shoot at the hillbillies, but the safety is on. Dale tells him what's wrong.
- Oh, Crap: Multiple points in the movie. Mike make this face when he realises Tucker was just running from some bee's, right before he dies.
- Only Sane Man:
- Jason acts as this for the first half of the movie.
- Mitch, the first of the students to accidentally off himself, was also the first to question the notion that Tucker and Dale were up to no good.
- The Peeping Tom: Dale calling Tucker out on doing this is what kickstarts the plot.
- Perspective Flip:
- A Hillbilly Horrors film from the hillbillies' point of view. The movie actually opens from the POV of the college kids who go camping in the woods, before it switches to Tucker and Dale's perspective during the gas station scene.
- The DVD likewise contains a 15-minute bonus feature called Tucker and Dale ARE Evil, which retells the story from the college kids' point of view while removing the hints that Chad is a psychopath.
- Photographic Memory: Dale claims he remembers everything he hears and reads.
- Police Are Useless: The local sheriff is kind of an idiot. He mistakes Tucker and Dale for gay lovers and later follows them inside the murder cabin. Even the airheaded teens can't believe he's so stupid - deciding instead that he's likely working with the pair, a subtle homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Chad when it comes to hillbillies.
- Poor Communication Kills: The Movie! Discussed by Allison, who explains that she's studying psychology because she feels so many of the world's problems are the result of this. She even tries to sit the main characters down to talk their way through the conflict. It doesn't work.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Part of why the deconstruction works.
- Psycho Party Member: Chad.
- Rescue Romance: Develops between Dale and Allison after her near-drowning. Turns into a serious relationship when Dale later rescues Allison from Chad.
- Room Full of Crazy: The cabin wall covered with newspaper cuttings on the Memorial Day Massacre. Tucker and Dale are more preoccupied by the discount coupon for chilli dogs.
- Shrinking Violet: Dale.
- Shovel Strike: Dale accidentally knocks Allison out with a shovel when they are attacked by Todd.
- Sinister Scythe: When Dale tries to talk to the college girls at gas station, he grabs the nearest thing to look casual. Too bad that it's a scythe, and his nervous laughter isn't helping matters.
- Skinny Dipping: Invoked as the college kids claim they are going to do as they go for a swim. However, they verbally change their minds along the way and eventually bathe in their underwear.
- Slashed Throat: Shown in the flashback sequence.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Comedy dominant. The film is a straight Deconstructive Parody that flips the Hillbilly Horrors genre on its head by making the hilbillies the heroes. Even the most gory deaths are Bloody Hilarious and not really played for horror.
- Suicide Pact: Tucker and Dale become convinced that the the college kids have one, and that they're trying to murder Allison to ensure she upholds the pact.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Dale, sort of. He didn't finish grade school, but apparently has a very good mind for trivia.
- Stockholm Syndrome: When Allison tries to explain to Chad and Naomi what happened, Naomi erroneously deduces that she is going through this. Even worse is that Naomi clearly has only the most basic idea of what Stockholm Syndrome even is, ("I think I've heard of this before!") much less how to diagnose it.
- Tap on the Head: Allison is knocked out twice in a short span and spends several hours unconscious each time. She doesn't seem to suffer any lasting ill effects.
- Television Geography: The movie takes place in the backwoods of West Virginia, but the foliage in the area looks nothing like West Virginia's. West Virginia forests are mostly broadleaf deciduous trees, packed rather densely, but the forest in the movie was coniferous and thin... not unlike the forests in Alberta, Canada.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Chad adds this few times.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Chad, when he discovers that he was born from rape and his real father is a hillbilly serial killer.
- Too Dumb to Live: The co-eds.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Quite a few death scenes are spoiled by the trailer. Especially the first three, which are the most abrupt and unexpected.
- Two-Faced: The left side of Chad's face is badly burnt when he is caught in an explosion. Also Naomi, thanks to her meeting with a weed whacker.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Dale is an overweight, dirty hillbilly, while Allison is a beautiful college student. They get together. And partially justified, as the movie highlights that, unlike with Chad, Dale respects Allison as a person, is completely supportive of her goals, and the pair is shown to have a good rapport.
- Unwilling Suspension: Tucker when he is caught by the college kids.
- Verbal Backspace Attempted by Dale in an effort not to curse in front of Allie, naturally leading to a bad case of Digging Yourself Deeper.
Dale: I'm digging a shitter hole. I'm digging a crap... crapper hole. It... it's a hole. It's for the shithouse. Craphouse! An outhouse hole.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Chad is asthmatic.
- Window Pain: Dale breaks a window to start a firefight with the college kids.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Chad is the one who convinces the others that they are in a "us against them" situation against crazy backwoods hillbillies. It's all just a misunderstanding. Chad also thinks he is the hero of the story, while Tucker and Dale are actually the heroes. In fact, they might have well just called this film "Wrong Genre Savvy The Movie" as the entire plot revolves around this trope.
- Yandere: Chad, for Allison. Exacerbated by the fact that she sympathizes with and eventually falls for a hillbilly.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Tucker gives Dale this speech to convince him to not only save Allison, but to pursue a relationship with her as well. He even says the exact line to him.
- You Are What You Hate: Hillbilly hater Chad is the Child By Rape of a psycho hillbilly murderer. The reveal drives him from "insane" to "totally freaking batshit insane."
- You Monster!: Chad believes this about Tucker and Dale, saying "I've never been so close to pure evil". He's technically right with that statement, though not in the way he thinks.