Of course the plot starts in the same way that all 'cabins in woods' stories start; see there's these college kids, and they're on their way for a summer camping trip in the woods! They stop to buy some beer at a local roadside shop and bump into some creepy looking hillbilly locals.
But from the other perspective, there's these two guys, Tucker (Alan Tudyk - another of my favourite Whedon alumni!) and Dale (Tyler Labine). The two are on their way to Tucker's new 'vacation home', a fixer-upper log cabin in the forest. Dale, a self depricating character, spots the pretty freshmen girls and is instantly lust struck. He's dared by his well-meaning bestest buddy to talk to the kids, see if he can strike up some conversation with the pretty girls. Only, being preppy college chicks, they aren't impressed and are obviously instantly terrified as he's holding a scythe! As you do...?
Anyway, this sets the kids on edge, and when skinny dipping later that night, they are shocked to find Tucker and Dale are nearby fishing. One of the girls, Alison (Katrina Bowden), falls into the water in suprise upon catching sight of the two men. Dale, worried for Alison's safety, jumps in and pulls her unconscious form into their boat.
The others, mistaking this for a kidnapping, run off and later regroup to attack the 'evil' hillbillies.
And so the hilarity begins, with some misunderstandings, a lot of goofs and some terrible attack tactics!
I liked the concept of this film a lot. I don't know of anyone who's watched an 80s camping slasher who actually likes the victims! They're almost always 2D preppy little meatheads doing the things that get you killed in horror movies; having sex, smoking weed and getting completely wankered on alcohol. Or all three in most cases! This film takes these characters and takes them out of limelight. It takes these typical horror movie stereotype victims and makes them the bad guys.
Poor old Dale and Tucker were just planning on going up to their cabin, doing some fishing and drinking some beer. Instead they're being attacked by apparently suicidal teens!
The kids keep launching themselves haplessly at the two men (who are acting rather suspiciously to be fair, but completely accidentally, of course!) and keep unintentionally killing themselves with their own weapons or rank carelessness.
Some excellent gore, a lot of blood and hilarious death scenes keep this film fast and energetic. The two hillbilly characters are portrayed skillfully and you are on their side from the get go!
The teens are purposefully played to be generic, and are quite convincing as dumbass youngsters with the wrong end of a very gorey stick by Chelan Simmons, Travis Nelson, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne and Joseph Allan Sutherland. They're terrified and confused, and useless! Very enjoyable. You feel for them, for the poor misled idiots that they are; judgemental as they may be!
But it's Chad (Jesse Moss) who joins Tudyk and Labine in keeping the show on the road. His character is unlikeable, even before he loses control. He's a dick and a miserable git and a chauvinist. His descent into complete sack o' hammers-land is quick and sudden. He's a loony from the onset, but you know, I think it works.
Tudyk and Labine's friendly hillbillies are funny and lovable. They're not simple, they're just trying to have a holiday! Dale is actually the kind of guy you want to have in your pub quiz team and Tucker reminds me a lot of the Chris Chambers character in "Stand By Me" who was played by River Phoenix. Tucker's just looking out for his friend, giving advice and trying to keep his confidence up, because he sees a different side to Dale than most people do. The fact that most of his advice is pretty terrible... well.... that's life, isn't it?!
Anyway, the gore is funny and will make you do that silent 'eww' thing reserved only for cutting jokes and slasher flicks, and the humour, although obvious, isn't over the top. The film takes every cliché in the book, and plays it back to front! Therefore, taking away the whole overdone cliché thing almost completely!
This film gets to stay on my shelf along with the 'Evil Dead' trilogy, the 'Best of Bruce Campbell' collection, 'Fido' and my 'Lost Boys' set. It's something you'd watch more than once!
[Picture: Magnolia Pictures]
Missing: 1 torso with attachments