Tucker & Dale vs Evil Review

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010)

Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, Katrina Bowden
Dir: Eli Craig

Do you ever feel like the rednecks and hillbillies in horror movies always get the short end of the stick? Well, like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, we have a tale from the other side of the fence: Tucker & Dale vs Evil!
That's a wrap!
Tucker and Dale is a horror comedy that gives a little insight on what may have "really" happened in some of those crazy pig squealing, teenager chopping, chainsaw revving stories we've grown so accustomed to. As a matter of fact, this story takes place following Dale and Tucker (Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, respectively) specifically as they have themselves the biggest "doozy of a day'.

It all begins with a nice homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a reporter and her cameraman film the inside of what appears to be an abandoned home...as well as a crime scene. Investigative journalism for the win! And yeah, it doesn't end well for them when an unknown assailant takes them both out before they have a chance to run...

Moments later, it cuts to the obligatory SUV full of douche bag college kids blowing down the highway, headed to the woods for a vacation weekend...or something like that. It's never really explained just what the hell they're doing out there, but c'mon...this movie isn't exactly about THEM, now is it (well, to be fair, it IS actually explained, but it's more a context clues issue as opposed to direct narrative).

And then suddenly, it all became clear.

There is an awkward moment on the road when they're passed by Tucker and Dale in their pick up...and then another at the gas station when Dale (the hopeless romantic) tries to make small talk with the kids. Poor guy...

Anyway, they continue on with their trek to the very same woods as the kids as Tucker has recently purchased a new vacation home for the two. And when I say vacation home, think "ex-serial killer hideout". This place is pretty gnarly.

Awkward in 3...2...
Later in the night, while they are out fishing on the water, they run across the coeds as they skinny dip. Only good can come from this, right? Well, when they start to argue over the morality of watching, they accidentally startle Allison (remember the hot coed from earlier?), causing her to slip and hit her head on a rock.  Being the good Samaritans they are, Tucker and Dale save her by pulling her unconscious body into their boat. Too bad what the college kids see is something completely different...

...wait for it...

What I liked: What I liked about this movie could be boiled down to simply an awesome group effort. From the goofy, but well-played characters to the appropriate setting/scenery to the enjoyable story all the way to the scenery. I'm not saying it was a perfect movie, but for what it was, it was a great escape from the usual. From the beginning of the movie all the way through to the end, it's one misunderstanding after another escalating to worse and worse fates until it becomes more and more apparent that there really is a psycho on the loose out there and he's got some real serious issues...

What I didn't like: Even though I don't feel it'd be fully fair to say there wasn't anything I didn't like about the movie, I can't lie, I didn't really "not" like anything about it. I guess I didn't particularly care for a couple of the characters, but for this specific instance, complaining about the ignorant teens in a horror movie is like complaining about the mayonnaise in the macaroni salad.

In a nutshell: This movie's pretty awesome. Plain and simple. It's something different from the norm and by that I mean not just your average spoof where the killer still roams like normal and all the victims just act more ridiculous than usual. There's a lot of potential in this flick and it's definitely worth a space on the movie rack.

I don't have a joke. She's just hot.

A Haunting in Salem

A Haunting in Salem (2011)

Bill Oberst, Jr, Jenna Stone, Carey Van Dyke
Dir: Shane Van Dyke

When I originally pulled this movie up, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. To begin with, movies that are "based on true events" tend to be hit or miss. Not because of story inaccuracies (probably the dumbest of all arguments for anything that's not a documentary), but because sometimes they just go too damn far. That being said, I knew the only way to find out which side of the spectrum this one fell on was to buckle down and do the damn thing...and so the damn thing was done.

A Haunting in Salem is a suspense horror story based on true events (See: that poster to the left) about a new to town sheriff who moves his family into the largest, creepiest house on the market. Unbeknownst to the family, 50 years ago, the previous occupants of the dark pad were all murdered one night by a vengeful spirit that still haunts to this day.
The sheriff.

What I liked: First off, one thing I will give this movie is I liked the atmosphere. Scary houses are always cool by default and the only thing that can ruin the concept is trying too hard. Luckily in this instance, they didn't. I also liked that I got the "where do I know this guy from?" feeling when I saw the name Bill Oberst, Jr. After a little IMDb sleuthing, I found he did a few episodes of "1000 Ways To Die", which is one of the few things I actually kind of like from Spike TV. Kudos to you, good sir. And on that note, the fun part...

What I didn't like: The first minutes of the movie involves a man being randomly drowned in the bathtub by an unknown intruder. I can deal with this as it's a horror and terrible things happen. Can someone explain to me, though, why as soon as his face hits the water, the screen is covered in unnecessary cg steam? I'm just saying for an opening scene, it really killed the overall feel of the situation, but I will admit it does get subjectively better as you push forward through the movie...

And I thought I had a bad day...

...and push you will have to since A Haunting in Salem could be considered a little too slow-paced, even for a haunting type movie. I would even feel hard-pressed to find a specific scene that kept me at the edge of my seat or with such suspense I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. By all means this wasn't a terrible experience, but the lower side of average.

In a nutshell: A Haunting in Salem is a poor man's A Haunting in Connecticut. Yeah, I said it. Granted they're not exactly the same, but it's basically like The Descent vs. The Cave in this situation. Wouldn't outright say one was better than the other as they were both somewhat boring, but if you want something that will keep you interested, just stick with Connecticut. If you're tired of Virginia Madsen movies or just want something a little bit different, then Salem might be worth your time.