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Film / Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

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"…It doesn't matter what happened, what matters is what looks like what happened, and what looks like what happened… is pretty nasty."

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a 2010 Horror Comedy film directed by Eli Craig.

Quick, just how many times have you heard setups like this before? A 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 creepy-looking hillbillies at the gas station. Soon things escalate and they find themselves locked in bloody combat involving the rural against the urban.

Sounds pretty standard, right? However, in this case, the kids are not the oppressed protagonists… it's the hillbillies.

Meet Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine). They are two best buds 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 (Katrina Bowden), when she's about to go for a swim and she almost drowns. They save her and take her home with them to recover, 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 south big time for our duo as they have to give it their all against… EVIL.

While deconstructing the killer hillbillies sub-genre, this 2010 horror comedy film also works as an Aesop for proper communication and the dangers of profiling.

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 board game).
  • Accidental Misnaming: Dale does this to himself when tongue-tied around Allison.
  • Accidental Suicide: Played for Laughs throughout.
    • The college kids, in their hysteria and fear that Tucker and Dale are killer hillbillies, try to "defend" themselves against them, only to end up killing themselves and each other in absurd ways. One guy even lunges into a working woodchipper. Tucker and Dale are so confused by the situation that they believe that the kids must be in some sort of Suicide Pact.
    • The sheriff, who witnesses Tucker and Dale pulling the lower half of the student's body out of the woodchipper and is highly skeptical of their suicide pact theory, accidentally kills himself, too, with a loose beam.
  • Advice Backfire: At the gas station, Tucker's advice for Dale when he wants to approach the college girls and start up a conversation is "smile and laugh". Unfortunately, Dale took a scythe along with the advice.
    Dale: You guys uh… goin' camping? (Giggles nervously while holding the scythe)
  • 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 who believes that murder is the only solution to the situation they are in.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In terms of perspective — the movie starts off following Allison's group of friends but switches to Tucker and Dale after the two groups meet at the country store.
  • Batter Up!: Subverted. Dale finds a baseball bat and suggests using it as a weapon but discovers it's hollow and made of plastic.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: After falling into a lake and bashing her head on a rock with sufficient force to render her unconscious, Allison wakes up in the cabin the next day with a bandage round her head and perfect wavy hair.
  • 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 non-existent situation into a deadly one.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Jangers.
  • 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 dangers of any kind until Allison's tea summit, by which point most of the white students are dead. He also makes a conscious decision to keep the white girl in heels nearby, upping his chances of survival.
  • Blood Knight: Chad is disturbingly giddy about killing Tucker and Dale.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents:
    • Primarily Tucker and Dale as they are wondering what's going on as college kids keep killing themselves around them and drenching them in blood.
    • Chloe receives a faceful of blood after Mike dives into the woodchipper. After cleaning up, she later receives another faceful when Naomi gets hit with the weed whacker.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Subverted. Allison is really trying for this one in her attempts to mediate. It doesn't work.
  • 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.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Something like 30 shots are fired during a stand-off scene...from a 6-shot revolver.
  • Bring Help Back: Chuck sets out to do this and it provides a brief Hope Spot when he returns with the Sheriff but it quickly takes a turn for the worse.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tucker, who accumulates all of the nonfatal injuries throughout the film. Dale comes through without a scratch.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tucker immediately realizes that no one is going to believe what really happened at the cabin.
  • Cellphones Are Useless: Subverted. Chloe tries to dial for help but before we can see if there's no reception, Chad breaks it since (a) he thinks cell phones are always useless in horror movies and they are in one and (b) he doesn't want to lose the chance to be The Hero who defeats the evil hillbillies.
  • Chainsaw Good:
    • Tucker accidentally cuts through a hornet's nest with a chainsaw and charges toward Mitch while swinging the chainsaw wildly at the swarming hornets triggering Mitch and the college students to flee in panic.
    • 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 ax. 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 painfully learns that he was conceived when one of the hillbillies responsible for the Memorial Day Massacre raped his mother.
  • 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.
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: This is a dark comedy in which Accidental Suicide is frequently Played for Laughs, but it has a few scenes that are Played for Drama, including when Allison tries to negotiate peace between her friends and the titular duo.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Tucker and Dale find newspaper clippings reporting on the previous cabin owner's victims. All Tucker notices is the free chili dog coupon.
    • When Dale brings breakfast to Allison, she screams in fear at the ragged-looking hillbilly approaching her. Dale's takeaway is that she doesn't like pancakes for breakfast and immediately retreats to make her something else.
  • Conveyor Belt of Doom: Chad ties Allison to a log at the abandoned sawmill and when the climactic duel starts, he starts the machinery there, putting Allison in this position.
  • Creepy Gas-Station Attendant: Subverted like every other Hillbilly Horrors trope: the creepy and vaguely menacing hillbillies at the gas station who spook the group of college kids are actually harmless Good Ol Boys suffering from a case of Poor Communication Kills. When the camera switches to show the perspective of the hillbillies, the gas station is a brightly-lit, well-organized store with a computer and a fax machine behind the counter.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: As expected in a horror movie, most of the deaths on display are this. With the twist that they are accidentally self-inflicted.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Tucker's attempt at giving Dale a pep-talk at the beginning of the movie.
    Tucker: You are a good-lookin' man… more or less. You got a damn good heart. 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.
  • Deadline News: The Cold Open (actually The Stinger out of place) features a local TV news reporter and her cameraman being murdered by a disfigured slasher who turns out to be Chad, who's gone full psycho.
  • Deadly Dodging:
    • Tucker dodges Mike's tackle when he bends down to pick up more wood and Mike ends up sailing into the wood chipper. Downplayed in that Tucker is completely unaware of Mike's approach and it was simply a case of unfortunate timing.
    • Tucker dodges Jason's weed whacker attack so it goes right into Naomi's face. Downplayed in that Tucker was just trying to get out of the way and Naomi was an accidental victim.
  • Deadly Road Trip: A deconstruction of the trope for the teens, though it's deconstructed by being played straight from the POV of Tucker and Dale.
  • Death by Cameo: Director Eli Craig plays the unlucky cameraman who is killed in the Cold Open. His wife plays the news reporter who is also killed.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Chad dissects the "alpha male" hero of a horror movie. His "bravery" and desire to take on "the bad guys" is in reality horrible arrogance and paranoia, and causes a somewhat troubling situation to become catastrophically bad for both the hillbillies and his friends. His refusal to disobey his instincts eventually make him into the evil horror movie villain he claimed to oppose. Tucker and Dale are heroic simply because they are humble and polite enough to consider their actions, barring the occasional moment of thoughtlessness.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The film does this for Hillbilly Horrors by making the hillbillies the heroic protagonists. The college kids only think that Tucker and Dale are evil going on their appearances and end up killing themselves horribly 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.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Much of the comedy of the movie results from showing the realistic outcome of standard horror tropes.
    • After multiple teens have accidentally killed themselves on Tucker and Dale's property, Dale voices the idea of just explaining their situation to the authorities. Tucker accurately points out that the circumstances no longer matter, what matters now is how the authorities are going to interpret the accidents.
    • When Chad decides to fight Tucker and Dale, the other teens are unnerved by this behavior and only participate in the attack because they're afraid they will be attacked instead.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The college kids. One of them's even the Big Bad.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted. While the Big Bad appears to have fallen to his death from the barn, we see that he has survived and kills 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 midriff-baring ensemble. Captivated by her abdomen, Dale struggles for a while to understand what she's saying.
  • Dogged Nice Guy:
    • Chad thinks he's this trope but is in fact a pretty nasty deconstruction. His come-ons to his dream girl are creepy and extremely unwanted, and he has a bad case of Entitled to Have You.
    • Dale is a played-straight example. He's a sweet, friendly guy who likes Allison a lot but doesn't believe he's good enough for her. He would also never dream of forcing himself on her.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Deadly accidents and misunderstandings happen there.
  • Dull Surprise: When stabbed in the throat by a machete in a flashback of the Memorial Day Massacre, one woman just looks slightly worried.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Everyone except Chad basically. Tucker and Dale themselves are not traditionally smart (see Dumb Is Good below) but quickly accept how bad things are and how bad they'll look. The rest of the college kids all have at least one moment where they question Chad's interpretation of the events but aren't capable of avoiding the lethal consequences. Inverted with Allison, who's portrayed as the smartest one of the main cast but makes some pretty poor decisions through the course of the film. She hangs a Lampshade on it in the finale when Tucker and Dale's cabin explodes and burns down.
    Allison: I'm a terrible therapist.
  • 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 appears 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 their attention is drawn to the 'Buy 3 get 2 free' coupon for a local chili dog shop with no 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.
  • Dwindling Party: Happens to the group of scared college kids like in any horror movie but unlike most horror movies, the college kids are causing their own demise. Out of the nine kids, only Allison and Chad made it out alive because the former knew the misunderstanding beforehand and wasn't stupid as them and the latter became the killer himself.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Dale definitely deserves it.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The prologue, if remembered at the end of the film, implies that the Big Bad 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.
  • Epic Fail:
    • The second attempt to rescue Allison fails epically. First, Todd impales himself on his own spear while running at Dale. Then Mike tries to tackle Tucker, who bends out of the way, causing Mike to accidentally hurl himself face first into a wood chipper.
    • Jason and Chloe's attempt at "rescuing" the rest of their friends goes spectacularly wrong. First, Jason tries to attack Tucker with a weed whacker, only to hit Naomi instead. Then, Chad tries to throw a lantern at the hillbillies, hitting Jason instead. Then, when Chloe tries to save Jason by dousing him with the nearest liquid she could find (which turns out to be paint thinner, which is HIGHLY flammable), she just makes the fire even worse, culminating in Jason burning to death, she and Naomi both dying in an explosion, and Chad becoming horribly disfigured.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • We first meet the college kids as they avoid a collision with a truck that turns out to belong to Tucker and Dale. In response, Chad makes some snide comments about hillbillies being freaks, Allison attempts to defuse his judgmental attitude, and the others generally act like over-privileged but otherwise well-meaning kids.
    • Our first glimpses of Tucker and Dale make them seem rather sinister and threatening. It's subverted when they turn out to be very likable and decent guys.
  • Evil Laugh: Played with; when first approaching Alison and her friends at the store, Dale tries to cover for his flustered babbling with a nervous giggle. Unfortunately, it also sounds like the kind of high-pitched crazy-sounding giggle that any number of creepy hillbillies have uttered in any number of horror films, which doesn't put any of them at ease. The fact that he's holding onto a Sinister Scythe does not help at all.
  • 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.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In their excitement of seeing their "vacation home" for the first time, neither Tucker nor Dale picks up on the screamingly large clues that their holiday cabin was once the abode of a deranged psychopathic Serial Killer.
  • Fanservice: Allison strips to her underwear and Chloe goes topless for a swim.
  • Final Girl:
    • Allison, thanks to her friends. But a rare variation when the "killers" aren't trying to kill the girl.
    • The Memorial Day Massacre had one, as well, who is later revealed to be Chad's mother, who escaped and led police to the killer.
  • Fingore: When the college kids catch Tucker, Chad severs two of his fingers with an ax.
  • Flipping the Bird: In the cold open, the cameraman is nervous about examining the crime scene without permission and asks his partner if they should have "a press pass or a permit or something?" Her response is to flip him off saying "Press pass this!"
  • Foreshadowing: When Tucker is chased into the forest by the college kids, the series of shots of him running away mimic the flashback at the beginning of the film to the Memorial Day Massacre, but with the roles switched, a hillbilly running from college kids. The fact that Chad is the one who captures Tucker foreshadows his true identity as the Big Bad of the film, and his true nature as a crazed hillbilly psycho.
  • 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 a group of deranged serial killers who happened to be hillbillies attacked his parents 20 years ago.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: When Allison gets Chad and Dale to actually talk to each other, Dale acknowledges that what happened to Chad is terrible, but accurately points out that he had nothing to do with Chad's tragic past.
    Dale: First of all... I am really sorry that your family got massacred. That is awful. Secondly, I didn't have anything to do with that, okay. I mean, I would have been six years old at the time.
  • Funny Background Event: When the college kids are at the gas station, Tucker asks the Shopkeeper to read back his shopping list which can be heard in the background throughout the scene and includes some interesting home-repair choices.
    Shopkeeper: three-quarter-inch nails, hacksaw, baling hooks, brush-clearing scythe, clamps... crosscutting handsaw, lubricated condoms, hand drill, feminine napkins, stone bit, one-eighth hole saw,...
  • Gag Echo: When Dale suggests that they go to the police after the first few deaths, Tucker snarks at how well that would go.
    Tucker: 'Oh, hidey-ho officer, we've had a doozy of a day. There we were, minding our own business. Just doing some chores around the house, when kids started killing themselves all over my property'? You would have to be a moron to believe that, Dale!
    • Then, when the kids bring the sheriff to the cabin and catch Tucker and Dale red-handed dragging Mike's half-body behind them:
      Tucker: Hello Officer... Good to see you again... We have had a doozy of a day. There we were... uh, mindin' our own business... making improvements to my new house... when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, these kids started killing 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 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.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Downplayed with Chad. He was already at the point of Ax-Crazy by the time he discovered the truth about his real father, but it did drive him a bit further off the deep end.
  • 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.
  • Hate Sink: Chad attempts to corner Allison and convince her to date him while she's actively trying to escape, completely disregards the death of his "friends," thinks that murdering Tucker and Dale is what he deserves and that it's "survival of the fittest" in the woods, abandons Naomi as she's begging for help, sexually assaults Allison while she's rendered immobile and tries to kill her for "betraying him" by sending her head-first into a rotating saw. There isn't a single redeemable thing about him.
  • Heel Realization: Mitch appears to go through one of these moments before he dies. First when Tucker runs past him, provoking a confused gaze; then when one of the wasps chasing him lands on his nose, at which point understanding visibly dawns on his face.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tucker and Dale. They're the best of friends, taking a trip to renovate their new vacation home.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Dale is a trivia genius and much more bold than his timid personality would suggest.
    • Despite looking like the embodiment of Slashers Prefer Blondes, Allison reveals that she grew up on a farm and is no stranger to digging a hole for an outhouse. Also, she's pursuing a degree in psychology and genuinely wants to help people communicate better.
  • 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 actual psycho hillbillies, and homicidal Chad is the son of one of them.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: All the college students are accidentally killed by their own or each other's hand.
  • 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: The movie's premise is that all the college students firmly grab the idiot ball at some point which leads to their deaths.
  • Idiot Savant: Dale has little education, but has ingenuity and an extremely powerful memory.
  • I Just Shot Marvin 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 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 falls on his makeshift spear.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Dale manages to sever the rope tying Allison by throwing an ax at it. He is visibly surprised at the result.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: During the stand-off, a newly-wakened Allison reassures Dale that nobody wants to hurt him.
    Chad: (Offscreen) Die, hillbilly!
  • Irony: Chad both passionately despises hillbillies and has a major thing for Allison. At one point, however, we learn that Allison grew up on a farm. This means that the girl Chad is most attracted to in his social circle is also the girl who is probably closest to the hillbillies he detests.
  • Jerkass: Chad, to the most extreme degree.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Chad goes from frat boy on a camping trip to Ax-Crazy awfully quick.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Chad, the rape-child of a psycho killer, becomes a psycho killer himself, and clearly feels sexually entitled to Allison.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Dale gets one at the sawmill when he is going to rescue Allison. Subverted in that most of the items he loads up with to make him into a "Killer Hillbilly" never come into play when he faces the Big Bad and he actually abandons several of them seconds after finding Allison because she finds him too scary.
  • Lovable Coward: Several of the college kids have shades of this, but it's most pronounced with Jason, the token black male character.
  • 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 paint thinner.
  • 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 was performing oral sex on Tucker.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Tucker and Dale being mistaken for killer hillbillies is the entire premise of the film.
  • Mistaken for Suicidal: As the college kids start killing themselves on Tucker and Dale's property in various hilarious accidents because they are Too Dumb to Live, Tucker and Dale are obviously horrified and believe the kids are engaging in some sort of twisted Suicide Pact that they want to force Allison into as well.
    Tucker: Quick, we have to hide all the sharp objects!
  • Moral Myopia: Despite having many options available, Chad single-mindedly considers their situation to be "survival of the fittest" which now justifies actively hunting down and murdering the hillbillies.
  • Murder by Cremation: Happens to one of the college kids, namely Chad's father, during the Memorial Day Massacre. However, whoever who suffered this trope it wasn't Chad's dad, since it turns out his real father was one of the murderous hillbillies who raped his mother
  • My Car Hates Me: When trying to escape from the Big Bad who is pursuing them, Dale struggles to get the truck started. Downplayed in that the truck was shown to be a beat-up, old jalopy and Tucker is even cautioning Dale not to flood the engine in his panic. After a few false starts, Dale can get it running before the Big Bad catches up to them.
  • 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.
  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: Dale finds Tucker hung upside down as bait for him, surrounded by booby traps. He accidentally triggers one, causing a huge spear to come flying down and pin the ground right between his legs. After standing in shock for a moment, he tells Tucker "For the first time, I'm glad I'm not hung like a bear."
  • 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.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Starts when Dale dives into the water to pull out the unconscious Allison.
    Tucker: Hey, we got your friend! (College kids run away panicking) Hey! We got your friend! Why the hell are they running away?
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Allison's willingness to think the better of Tucker and Dale stems partly from the fact that she grew up on a farm in circumstances not a million miles removed from them.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The entire premise of the film. Tucker and Dale are two Nice Guy hillbillies whose well-meaning actions unintentionally make them look a bunch of psycho hillbillies to the students camping in the area, who proceed to treat them as such, only to end up getting themselves killed by their own stupidity and hastiness.
  • Not With the Safety On, You Won't: Chuck, tries to shoot at the hillbillies, but the safety is on. Dale unfortunately tells him how to fix it. Chuck frantically struggles with it while looking down the barrel and ends up shooting himself in the face.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mitch when he realizes Tucker was just running from some wasps, right before he dies.
    • Tucker and Dale when they see the Sheriff arrive right as they are dragging Mike's half-body behind them.
  • 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. If he were to stick around longer, the movie would have been surely different.
  • The Peeping Tom: Dale calling Tucker this for ogling Allison taking her top off at the lake is what kick-starts 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.
    • One of the best examples of this is when Tucker is chased into the forest by the vengeful teens, which mimics chase scenes from horror movies — first-person camera, weird, swingy camera movements, and occasional shots of the protagonist running. He even trips and tries to hide. This is also a Call-Back to the memorial day massacre, and doubles as foreshadowing.
    • 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.
    • When Chad and Allison first enter the general store, they see Tucker and the Shopkeeper at the counter dimly lit and looking like poster-children for Hillbilly Horrors. After they head to the back to get the beer, the camera shifts to show Tucker and the Shopkeeper from a different angle and we get a clear view of the Shopkeeper's desk behind him... neat and orderly with a computer and fax machine in plain sight.
  • Photographic Memory: Dale remembers everything he hears and reads.
  • Pipe Pain: The news reporter and cameraman in the Cold Open are beaten to death with a pipe.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted, though it certainly seems like it's played straight from the perspectives of the scared teens. Despite finding Tucker and Dale in some very incriminating circumstances, the local sheriff gives them a chance to explain their side of the story and, despite his clear skepticism, follows them into their cabin and confirms for himself that Allison wasn't seriously injured. Afterwards, while he does dress the duo down for not heeding his warning about the woods, his mention of involuntary manslaughter makes it clear that he at least believes the deaths of the teens were accidental. You can also see him instinctively reach for his sidearm when Dale makes a sudden quick movement in an already tense situation. It was just bad luck he accidentally impaled himself in the head by leaning on the faulty beam.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Chad when it comes to hillbillies and feeling entitled to women.
  • 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. To her credit, it does seem to work - until her other two friends who were waiting outside decide to intervene to save them from the hillbillies.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Part of (but not the whole reason, given how likable the hillbillies are) 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 with the discount coupon for chili dogs.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: While sawing a tree, Tucker accidentally strikes a hornets' nest. Hilarity Ensues. And one fatality that was entirely the kid's fault for not looking where he was going.
  • Shrinking Violet: Dale.
  • Shovel Strike: Dale accidentally knocks Allison out with a shovel when they are attacked by Todd.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Allison gives one to Dale at the end of the film when he’s about to confess his feelings for her but it turns into nervous rambling. She feels the same way about him.
  • Sinister Scythe: When Dale tries to talk to the college girls at the 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.
  • Slapstick:
    • Allison is subjected to several head injuries throughout the film. However, because Beauty Is Never Tarnished, they are all non-lethal and non-disfiguring.
    • Chloe gets splattered with blood twice and its played for Black Comedy.
  • Slashed Throat: Shown in the flashback massacre 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 hillbillies the heroes. Even the goriest deaths are Bloody Hilarious and not really played for horror.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Dale, sort of. He didn't finish grade school but apparently has a very good mind for trivia.
  • Start of Darkness: The whole movie is a slow build-up to one for Chad.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Chuck and the others argue for simply leaving the woods to go get the police to sort things out. Unfortunately, Chad turns the situation into a "survival of the fittest" death-match that results in a lot of unnecessary deaths.
  • Suicide Pact: After seeing the college kids managing to off themselves through one stupid accident after another, Tucker and Dale become convinced that they have one and that they're trying to murder Allison to ensure she upholds the pact.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Twice in rapid succession with the local sheriff.
    • First, when he arrives after the outlandish events that have led to multiple deaths, you'd expect him to immediately assume the worst (and in fact that's what Tucker and Dale expected earlier.) However, since there's no signs of immediate danger, he's willing to listen to them, look at the evidence, and accept that the deaths were accidental.
    • Then, you'd expect that everything is cleared up now that he knows the main characters weren't at fault. Nope! As he points out, the fact that their cabin was so obscenely dangerous (possibly to the point of criminal negligence) means that they may still be guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
  • 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.
  • 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 college students. Special mention to the one that jumped into a woodchipper while trying to take out Tucker.
  • 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 the Big Bad's face is badly burnt when they are 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. By the end of the film, they are dating.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Tucker and Dale are a pair of dirty-looking hillbillies while the Big Bad is a fit young man. That said, the titular duo have an undeniable charm to them, whereas the villain is a wholly contemptible scumbag. Subverted by the movie's end, when the Big Bad's face is severely burned and disfigured.
  • 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.
  • The Victim Must Be Confused: A group of college kids think that Tucker and Dale are a duo of killer hillbillies straight out of a stock slasher film who have been killing their friends and kidnapped Allison, when in reality they saved Allison from drowning when she hit her head and all of their friend's death happened either due to their own laughably pathetic ineptitude or just plain bad luck. When Allison tries explaining to her friends the situation, Naomi comes to the conclusion that she must have Stockholm Syndrome, made even more egregious since she seems to only know the most basic definition and is clearly unfit to make any kind of diagnosis.
  • Villainous Lineage: 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.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: All of the college kids except Chad. At the end of the day, they're really just scared because they think (not without reason) a couple of hillbillies kidnapped their friend and are out to kill them. They do go about it pretty stupidly in the face of some signs that their wrong, though.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Chad is asthmatic. And allergic to chamomile.
  • Weaponized Allergy: Dale uses Chad's allergy to chamomile to his advantage.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The burned Chad that emerges from the fire. It's the same figure that appears at the beginning of the film.
    • The photography of the hillbilly that was arrested after the Memorial Day massacre has a strange resemblance to Chad. That's his father.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Chad thinks his prejudiced and inflammatory rants sound heroic, but his friends repeatedly call him out for them.
  • Wood Chipper of Doom: One of the college kids (Mike) attempts to stab Tucker with a pocket knife... only to jump into a wood chipper Tucker was using when he lunges at him. Tucker tries to help him but ends up only saving Mike's lower torso.
  • 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. Ironically, the movie does turn out to have a slasher villain like Chad expected — but it's him, not the "evil hillbillies".
  • 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: The Big Bad who hates hillbillies learns that he is the Child by Rape of a psycho hillbilly murderer. The reveal drives him completely off the deep end.
  • You Monster!: Chad believes this about Tucker and Dale, saying "I've never been so close to pure evil" after capturing Tucker and "This is where evil lives" when entering the cabin.


Video Example(s):


Woodchipper Accident

The main trope image. One of the kids attempts to tackle Tucker, mistaking him for a crazy serial killer, and ends up falling headfirst into a woodchipper much to the hillbilly's horror.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / WoodChipperOfDoom

Media sources: