College students mistake two sloppy rustics for murderous hillbilles.
Directed by Eli Craig
Starring Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk
Initial Review by Shane Setnor
But succeeding in only two-thirds of a movie just isn’t going to cut it. Now, you can get away with only two-thirds of a movie being good and end up with a solid score if you hide the crappy third in the middle. But, like when you’re waiting tables, the beginning and end is where you make your money. You can’t start or finish poorly.
In T&DvE, Alan Tudyk (Tucker) and Tyler Labine (Dale) star as two misunderstood hillbillies off to the backwoods to clean up the creepy cabin vacation home they recently purchased. Katrina Bowden (Allison) and Jesse Moss (Chad, but his name should have been Chet) lead a group of diverse looking college kids off to drink some beer in some creepy woods. You see where this is going.
In the early scenes, we get what we want out of the premise of the film when these two groups interact. The unconfident Dale, smitten with Allison when he sees her at a gas station, approaches the group of college kids and in a heavy Southern accent asks an awkward question followed by a creepy laugh. We know he’s just nervous, but from the point of view of the college kids, it’s frightening.
These interactions and misunderstandings continue down the road and the payoffs come in the form of hilarious, over the top death scenes of the college students. Many of them set off by earlier throwaway remarks that show how easy something can be interpreted in multiple ways. There were multiple laugh out loud moments, culminating in a scene where the sheriff stumbles around with a board in his head and a college kid, listening to Dale’s advice, shoots himself in the head turning the safety off on the gun.
However, the gags stop and story is fleshed out where there doesn’t need to be one. The romance between Dale and Allison is forced beyond the point of being amusing. The backstory for Chad is completely unnecessary and a waste of time. I was fine with Chad being a crazy person, but I didn’t need to know why nor did I need him to become a super powered villain. Really, they could have cut out about 20 minutes and this would have been a tight B movie, which is on writer/director Eli Craig.
T&DvE had potential to be an A- horror satire, but the film steps on itself and stumbles to the finish, killing any good-will it earned in the beginning. I would watch it again or recommend it because it’s unique, but I can’t say it’s above average. There is a sequel coming out and I 100% would like to see that.