Production compaines: Eden Rock Media
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Director: Eli Craig
Producer: Morgan Jurgenson, Eli Craig
Screenwriter: Morgan Jurgenson, Albert Klychak, Rosanne Milliken, Deepak Nayar
Starring: Alan Tudyk as Tucker, Tyler Labine as Dale, Katrina Bowden as Allison, Jesse Moss as Chad, Philip Granger as Sheriff, Brandon Jay McLaren as Jason, Christie Laing as Naomi, Chelan Simmons as Chloe, Travis Nelson as Chuck, Alex Arsenault as Todd, Adam Beauchesne as Mitch, Joseph Allan Sutherland as Mike, Karen Reigh as Cheryl, Tye Evans as Chad's Dad, Bill Baksa as BJ Hillbilly
Also starring: Deepak Nayar
Nice-guy Tucker (Tudyk) is fixing up his run-down holiday cabin in the woods with his shy pal Dale (Labine), while nine university students are camping nearby. Around the campfire Chad (Moss) recounts a incident two decades earlier in which a group of kids were massacred right here. So when Allison (Bowden) goes missing, the gang becomes convinced that Tucker and Dale are hillbilly cannibals who have kidnapped their friend. But Tucker and Dale only rescued her when she was injured swimming., and now they can't figure out why these kids are attacking them.
While sticking fairly closely to the standard stalker-horror formula, the filmmakers gleefully subvert each scene by showing us both sides of the story.
This gives each scene a comical zing, especially as they mercilessly tease the audience with red herrings. And the interaction between the characters is sharp and funny. Clearly these teens have seen too many horror movies, as they misinterpret everything that happens and take violent actions that horrify Tucker and Dale.
As the misunderstandings escalate, the two sides to this story are both hilariously outrageous. And most of the actors get the chance to break stereotypes with their characters. The dialog is offhanded and amusing, and there are terrific running gags like Dale's crippling nervousness around women and Allison's hilarious attempts to bring peace to the table. The glaring exception is Moss' paranoid nutcase, who annoyingly isn't capable of reason, although he does come with a back-story.
While director-cowriter Craig continually punches the comedy, he also knows enough about the genre to keep the suspense levels pretty high as well, playing with stereotypes while finding new ways to sabotage every cliche imaginable.
Like Cabin Fever crossed with Final Destination, this is a nightmarishly nasty horror movie that manages to kill off its cast in blackly hilarious ways. But it also manages to freak us out right up to the inventive finale.