The pReview Re-viewing of..
by Jeff Finck
The premise: A rather clever tale of mixed signals and a comedy of errors. The signals in question, get crossed by two groups of stereotypes. On one hand you have your typical teenagers/twentysomethings running amok in the woods, getting themselves into a drug and alcohol fueled good time, no doubt. The other faction consists of two lovable hillbillies who found their dream home: a dilapidated cabin in the middle of the woods. When the two parties cross paths, hilarity and accidental violence ensue!
We begin with a group of fun loving friends, who decide to go hang out in the woods because nothing spells fun like a bunch of camping and disrespecting nature by getting drunk, high and having unprotected sex. I assume these kids will be doing just that, because in every horror movie, there are like no less than 20 people who go camping but don't like camping, but they still go, and not one ever takes any safety precaution seriously. So, we have these kids driving up a lonely forest road and then get all paranoid when the only other car on the road is piloted by two very unkempt, dastardly looking horror movie cliches, played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine. It doesn't help that when Tucker and Dale drive by, they're giving these kids the old up-down, and mugging hard. Of course, the egocentric little clique of friends are now convinced that they lasted more than even a split second in the minds of those two homely travellers.
"Who wants to go skinny dipping?"
A rather simple question, that seems to be answered by a day to night switch with either a blatant disregard for continuity, or a several hour time gap TBD in the film.. but it IS answered with a passive to enthusiastic, "YES!" The whole gang goes lemmings and all jump into the water, ready for their unencumbered, nudic, swim-a-thon to commence. Then we see Allison, played by the always striking Katrina Bowden of 30 Rock fame, shown running off by her onesy and stripping down partially in another part of the lake. This just happens to be Tucker and Dale's lucky day, as they are also shown in that area of the lake, and are treated to the show. They are fishing it up.. or lunar oaring.. or nocturnally sculling.. or night paddling.. or sleep rowing.. any number of activities could be the reasoning for their presence, however, once spotted, Allison falls head over heels into the reeded aquatic situation and appears to be unconscious. Tucker and Dale do the only rational thing when a beautiful girl falls into one's lake.. they take after their favorite song, (this isn't actually covered in the trailer.. or probably even in the movie, but I'd like to think their favorite song is "Hero") they fish her out and get all Enrique Iglesias on her. Ever the Samaritans, they inform the group that they have saved their friend. However, the communication is somewhat lacking and comes out as creepy as T&D look. The assortment of adventurers witness their friend's alleged abduction and in turn, freak the hell out. Let the miscommunications begin!
We will now play a game called, "What Should They Have Done?"
(1) What Should They Have Done? Well, firstly.. Tuckerdale could have just been a little clearer. Well.. a whole hell of a lot clearer. Simply peppering the sentence, "We got your friend." with a different word, like, "saved" instead of "got", and then telling them to swim over and get her.. or taking the initiative and rowing over and depositing Allison in her friends' care.. either of these would have gone miles to forming a long lasting friendship with the pro/an-tagonists.
The next morning, Allison, perplexed and hazy, stares out of a window in Duckertale's cozy cabin getaway, unaware of the horrors that lie in store for her friends. Or the impending, much more imminent danger that lies in store for her: PANCAKES! Wait.. pancakes? Yes, Rosencrantz walks into the room with breakfast in bed and when met with a clearly ungrateful reaction, loses all self esteem in his culinary prowess and retreats to make something else.. inevitably in vain.
(2) What Should He Have Done? Tuckerstern could have knocked before entering the room and announced himself in a vulnerable and approachable voice, then follow up with a sing-song, "breeeak-fasssst!" This would have put her immediately at ease and prevented the initial shock of meeting a stranger in a strange place.
The scene does end in a nice give and take explanation, where Guildenstern looks on as Rosencrantz explains that he jumped in to rescue fair Ophelia. Too literary? Like.. they never specify which is Tucker or which is Dale, much in the same way Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are never determined. And one of the themes behind the movie is alleged suicide.. and Allison is really beautiful and falls in the water.. and, like, Ophelia was beautiful and killed herself by drowning. See? I can make sense sometimes! In any case, Tucker and Dale, whichever is which, decide to go on the offensive and find Allison's friends to let them know she is safe.
Perspective flip. We now have Allison's fearful friends gathering outside of the suspected nightmare cabin, forming theories and worst-case scenarios about the "evil" that has befallen their helpless homey.
(3) What Should They Have Done? The group should have just walked up to the porch and knocked on the door. This would have resulted in an initial anxiety-inducing moment.. but when the door opens up and everyone is genial and nice, they would find their friend Allison is comfortable and probably sit down and enjoy some of those forgotten pancakes as one big, happy, bunch of new found friends!
Instead, the gaggle of gadabouts decide to fight the two unwitting friends in a series of mishaps and missteps, leading to the cast list going from double digits to single, real quick-like. The posse of pupils turned prowlers assumes that Allison is digging her own grave, when she has actually just offered to help Ckudertale dig a.. uhmm.. "shitter hole". So they decide that enough is enough. They attempt to hit Tucker and Dale with everything they can get their hands on. A whole arsenal of sharpened branches, axes, sheer brawn, and death defying (well.. death dealing) maneuvers, is broken out and wielded to the fullest extent of their aptitude (ineptitude?).
(4) What Should They Have Done? Well, the first time her friends saw Allison alive and well, they could have assessed the sitch and realized that they outnumbered their perceived enemy 7 to 1. They could have called out to Allison and asked what the deal was. This would likely have resulted in a rather comical conversation and all of the alleged kidnapping business would have been explained.
I will spare you the following deaths in great detail, but they have to be seen to be believed! These bumbling besties all find interesting, Final Destination style deaths to keep people sated until the impending sequel, 'The Final Destination Finale 6: Seriously, This is Final', comes out. A quick taste: vaulting onto stakes, leaping into wood chippers, running into sharp branches chest and heart first, eating bullets, chucking fire at each other.. and I am hoping for much more cringe-worthy mismanagings of judgment.
As the campers slowly kill themselves trying to save Allison, Tucker and Dale grow more and more worried for the mental health of Allison's friends. With so much death falling around, and literally ON them, they have no other explanation other than these city folk have formed a suicide pact and came into their forest to shuffle off their mortal coils. Tucks and Deezy decide they need to help. Yet, the more they try to help, the more fearful their burdensome bounty becomes. The more fearful the "suicidal" friends become, the more they fall prey to their own follies. A vicious cycle.
(say it with me)(5) What Should They Have Done? Well, first of all, Tuckencrantz and Dalenstern should just let Allison go outside and talk to her friends! The movie would be over in like 2 minutes and everyone in the group would go off happy in the fact that maybe they may just not be cut out for the woods. Not to mention, Tucker and Dale would return happily to their home sweet home.
The police eventually end up involved, though, which might allow for some third party perspective. But they show a scene where one of the kids picks a revolver off of the ground in front of the police car, so we can only assume that the police officer's head exploded when he discovered how amazing the plot of this movie is.
It really seems like this movie was a lot of fun to make. Alan Tudyk shines in everything he's ever done, and Tyler Labine brings his usual lovable best friend swagger to the plate. This group of young actors must have had a ball playing off of the ridiculousness of the script and fun set. This fun take on the horror genre ends up looking like less of a traditional spoof, and more like a wonderful homage to every slasher flick ever that made you say, "Man, I wonder what would have happened if they just tried to talk things out." In most cases, it would end with your tongue cut out and shoved into your eyeballs.. but on the off chance that you're dealing with misunderstood forest folk, maybe, just maybe, things would work out. One thing is for sure, I cannot wait til this movie comes out so I can get a good start on the upcoming horror movie season. Nothing is better than a well done horror/comedy mash up, in my opinion. ("Shaun of the Dead", much? Have you seen "Severance"?) Fingers crossed!
Release Date: September 30, 2011