I just want to make it clear that I am NOT a horror movie fan. At all. They don't do anything for me. Probably, it's the lack of any real story in them, because, really, what kind of story do you need for a guy to go around killing people in the most gruesome ways possible? And, then, there's the gore, which is not something I need in my life. I mean, I went to see Punisher: Warzone (at the theater!), and that may have scarred me for life. Of course, that may as well have been a horror movie considering the lack of story and the excessive gore. I can count on one hand the number of horror movies that I've seen and thought they were pretty good: Halloween (the very first one, which I saw when I was a kid (I'm pretty sure it was an edited for TV version) over at a friend's house) and April Fool's Day (which I didn't want to watch, but I was kind of stuck at a party, so it was either watch the movie or go sit in a room by myself), which is worth it for the ending. Okay, so that didn't even take a hand.
That being said, I love Alan Tudyk. Even before Firefly, I thought he was awesome as Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, and that's where I recognized him from when we finally watched Firefly. Besides, how can you not love a guy that was in Spamalot? As Lancelot, no less, the Cleese character in Holy Grail (or one of them, anyway). So I was really torn when I saw he was in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, but what a great title, right?
I'm glad I finally broke down and watched it. Yeah, yeah, it has plenty of gore, but it's not exactly the mindless gore of your typical horror/gorefest movie. I mean, in Tucker and Dale, you're busy being shocked or trying not to laugh while it's going on. Like when [spoiler] the "stupid college kid" throws himself into the wood chipper. Trying to laugh, or not to laugh, while being horrified is maybe not as easy as it sounds.
Alan Tudyk is, of course, awesome, but so is Tyler Labine as Dale. They have a great buddy chemistry going, but, really, the success of the film is rooted Labine's performance as the best friend and the romantic lead as he chases after Katrina Bowden (from 30 Rock) as Allison, who is also quite good. Jesse Moss pulls off the preppy jerk and could have walked right out of any number of 80's flicks.
The true genius of the film is that it takes the idea of a "comedy of errors" and mixes it up flawlessly with the horror genre. It makes me wonder why no one else has ever done this. Or maybe they have, and I just never heard of it, but I'm more inclined to think this kind of thing hasn't been done before. All of the classic horror movie pieces are there: group of college kids going off into the woods, spooky warning from a creepy cop about how "you shouldn't go there," and a "ghost" story as a backdrop. Really, I was all set up for the typical horror movie and wasn't actually sure I'd watch the whole thing, even with Tudyk in it.
But you can tell there's something else going on from the beginning, you're just not quite sure what it is. Tudyk and Labine are saying "buddy comedy," and the group of college kids are screaming "the horror! the horror!" What you get... well, if you can take the gore, it's definitely worth the watch.