Suspension of Disbelief: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.
Since I was in middle school, there have been a spate of horror movie spoofs, most notably the Scary Movie franchise. These movies are terrible. So terrible, in fact, that they cast a pall over all other movies in the genre and makes me skeptical of any movie that purports to parody. (Obvious exception: Simon Pegg. No more need be said.)
But Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is not a spoof in the asinine vein of Scary Movie. The former movie flips the script on its head, instead of mocking the genre’s component parts. Tucker is about two friends, Tucker and Dale, from West Virginia Appalachia. Tucker had recently purchased a run-down cabin in the woods, and he and Dale planned to spend the weekend fixing it up.
Cut to a group of college students out on a camping trip. Demographics of this group are predictable: the coward, the blond bimbo, the Black Guy (TM), the sensible one, and the leader who sends douche-chills up the spine of anyone in a 10-mile radius.
The main theme of this movie is communication, and how lack of it contributes to a whole mess of problems. (Don’t be impressed that I divined this; one of the characters says it almost verbatim.) The film also delves into the dangers of stereotyping and how those stereotypes color run-of-the-mill interactions with our fellow human beings. Tucker is one miscommunication after another, from the initial “abduction” to the final revelation. Both sides make assumptions about the other that make their interactions needlessly tense. (Although, in my opinion, the College Kids make many more and much more dangerous assumptions about the Hicks.)
But this movie isn’t just a series of skits. It’s a cohesive story that takes horror movie tropes and rearranges them to make a unique and funny story. It’s not Shaun of the Dead. But the story quality is much closer to that than Scary Movie. All in all, not a bad way to spend 90 minutes.