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Bloody well done

"Tucker & Dale" Q&A with director Eli Craig. Photo by Brandon Joseph Baker for Sundance

If you love campy horror that gives uppity teenagers their due, or hillbillies, or movies that simultaneously take the piss out of and show a lot of respect for classics in their genre – or if you just want a crazy bloody hilarious good time, then “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” is the Sundance movie for you.

It was for me. After many hours over the last couple days dealing with email, Web, photo, AND phone malfunctions (why do all these blow up at the same time – and of course right when lots of people are trying to reach me…or at least I think they are, but how do I know, when they can’t?), I was ready for some blood.

Every year, the festival’s Midnight series gives us some doozy genre movies that make up with enthusiasm what they lack in budget, and this is a classic example. “Tucker & Dale” concerns a couple humble hillbillies who get on the wrong side of some snooty college kids when they both head for the deep, dark, possibly killer-infested woods. Although it supposedly takes place in West Virginia (of course), it was filmed in Canada (of course).

The leads are sympathetic and funny and never cheesy. The movie features a few great lines (“I should have known that when a guy like me talked to a girl like you, somebody would end up dead”) and scenes that had everyone laughing out loud even as they cringed.

Another nice touch: Writer/Director Eli Craig‘s entertaining Q&A after the film, which was also both sweet and hysterical. Craig said the reason his movie ended up low on the nudity scale was that none of his Alberta-based cast was willing to take her shirt off. A local stripper volunteered to be a stand-in for one of the actresses, but when she appeared on the set, “She was about 40 years old and extremely rugged-looking,” Craig said. So the shot ended up being filmed from a distance – a great distance.

Turning more thoughtful, Craig mused on his film’s underlying themes of “our classist society” and marveled on getting into Sundance: “I can’t believe the things people always told me would pay off – hard work, believing in yourself, never giving up – all paid off.”

Tucker & Dale movie

(A scene from "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil." Photo by Dan Powers)

January 28, 2010   1 Comment