"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.While deconstructing 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).
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.
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.
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.
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. He was actually the perpetrator, a serial killer and rapist who attacked Chad's mother and her friends in the past.
Cobweb Jungle: Tucker's cabin when he and Dale enter it. They proclaim proudly that it's just a little dusty.
Tucker: You 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.
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.
Entitled to Have You: Chad has this for Allison who he believes he is entitled to because they are both 'special' and proceeds to go (even more) crazy when she falls for Dale, a hillbilly, whom he sees as inferior.
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.
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 his weapon (a circular saw blade) at a college kid 20 years ago. The scenes are even shot at the same angle.
Freudian Excuse: Chad's hatred for hillbillies comes from the fact that they attacked his parents 20 years ago.
Tucker: 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.
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 reporter's extremely outdated haircut may lead one to believe that it has something to do with the Memorial Day Massacre that took place 20 years prior to the rest of the story. The viewer will realize as the movie ends that this is actually the last chronological scene in the movie, and that the insane killer is 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 and ends up shooting himself in the face.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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 Murderer: Tucker and Dale being mistaken for killer hillbillies is the entire premise of the film.
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.
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.
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.
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 affects.
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.
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."