M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved starting with the year I began reviewing the genre officially October 1, 2010 through October 1, 2011. I have posted my best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st 2010 and September 30, 2011 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number, 31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on September 30, 2011. Available on Video On Demand, digital download, DVD/BluRay and on Netflix!

#18 – TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL (2010)

Directed by Eli Craig
Written by Eli Craig, Morgan Jurgenson
Starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Philip Granger, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne, Joseph Allan Sutherland, Karen Reigh, Tye Evans, Dave Brown, Bill Baksa, Mark W. Strong, Shaun Tisdale, Eli Craig, Myles Pollard, Sasha Craig, & Weezer as Jangers the Dog!
Find out more about this film here!

I came across TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL late. For some reason it got past me when I first made my best of list, but now that I get to retool my best of list, you’d better believe that one of the best horror comedies in the last decade has a firm spot on it!

What makes a good horror comedy? I’ve seen fantastic ones and some not so good ones and I feel the ones that work the best are those that take the horror seriously. As soon as the actors begin winking at the camera and act like they are in on the joke, the entire film falls apart for me. Sure the events of the film might be funny when watched from the comfort of one’s own home, but to experience the gory gauntlet the folks in TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL endure, there is no room for anything but to take things in an utterly serious manner. It’s the juxtaposition of the extreme gore, the gonzo action, and the straight-up horror and how the cast face it all that allows for the bulk of the laughs in TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL—that’s why it’s one of the best horror comedies around, sure to have you perplexed on whether to gag, gasp, or guffaw from beginning to end.

TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL also has fantastic performances going through real problems. Both Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are steadfast in their dreams of being accepted and loved. They dream of a life filled with success, money, and popularity (with the ladies, of course). It’s just that their hillbilly lifestyle just doesn’t lend to having that type of success. It’s basically the same dreams the Beverly Hillbillies have, meeting their opposition with a toothy, yet slightly crooked smile and a disposition that cannot be toppled by civilized judgment. It’s this type of hope-filled gumption that makes these two losers lovable as all get out.

Knowing that these two doofs couldn’t harm a fly is the running joke here. The vacationing college kids who populate much of these types of slasher films are immediately leery and judgmental of Tucker and Dale, despite the fact that they are overly, yet awkwardly, kind and outgoing to them. It’s this play on the city mouse vs. the country mouse theme that runs wild here to uproarious results. The fact that much of the death in TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL comes from these college kids assuming the worst and thus, running away from the two hillbillies makes the humor all the darker and cleverer.

The humor and repeated instance of the kids accidentally killing themselves while interacting with Tucker and Dale goes on just long enough, not overstaying its welcome or wearing itself thin. The film clocks in at a brisk hour thirty, the perfect time to develop a fun plot and run with it a while. Had this film been any longer, I think it might have returned to the well a few more times and been hurt by that decision. Instead, the film focuses on the likability of Tudyk and Labine, giving them some scenes that highlight the actors impeccable comedic timing. It’s a shame they didn’t make a sequel to this. I’d kill to see Tucker and Dale take on more terrors.

TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL is a comedy not unlike EVIL DEAD II. It celebrates the genre it is nestled in, never apologizing, and never failing to entertain. Never does it make fun of the horror genre or offer up a snarky comment to make one feel lesser for loving the genre. It’s one of those films that parties right down there in the blood, mud, and chainsaws with the rest of us freaks. If you’re a horror fan, I’m sure you’ve seen it. If not, waste no more time and check it out already. It’s a true horror comedy gem!

THE 2010-2011 COUNTDOWN!

#22 – RUBBER
#27 – HUSK
#30 – LA HORDE

M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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