Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (USA/ Canada, 2011)
Directed by Eli Craig
Starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss
The secret to making a good horror-comedy is the same as the secret to making any good film: we have to care about the characters and be interested in the story around them. But this becomes harder when you are attempting to spoof a genre whose appeal lies all too often in the amount of gore foisted upon the characters rather than the characters themselves. So many slasher spoofs are as guilty in this regard as the films that they are sending up, filling the screen with faceless nobodies who will be dead long before empathy kicks in.
Hallowe'en and more specifically Friday the 13th, a comparison reinforced by the skinny-dipping sequence.
Deliverance being the biggest touchstone during the scene in the gas station. And the final showdown in the sawmill has hints of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in Tucker's entrance to do battle with Chad, which in itself is a passing reference to Motel Hell. The deaths of the teenagers also nod towards past horror-inflected works. The scene where a guy is speared by a tree branch while running from angry bees is a possible send-up of Macaulay Culkin's death in My Girl, while the wood-chipper sequence takes the ending of Fargo and wittily reverses the roles.
An American Werewolf in London in its set-up of comic characters who are then encroached upon by horror.
The Dark Knight, there is an unavoidable loss of momentum even as we agree with what is being shown.
Verdict: Scary, funny and with real heart