If you're seeking proof that the "crazy hillbilly" genre can never be inundated, look no further than first-time director Eli Craig's new horror-comedy Tucker & Dale Vs Evil. Craig's film, which he also co-wrote, systematically overturns the classic horror cliché of a chainsaw-weilding hick through two unlikely redneck heroes, Tucker and Dale (played by Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, respectively). Though the backwoods friends are assumed by a bunch of frat kids to be bloodthirsty psychopaths, Tucker and Dale actually turn out to be a surprisingly unique concept: hillbillies with heart.
Amidst cleverly staged accidental deaths (which are the source of the film's best laughs) and comically-infused misperceptions, Tucker & Dale's ignorant sincerity is not only a freshly conceived inversion of the genre—it's a new genre entirely, one Craig calls "bromantic-horror-comedy."
"[Tucker & Dale] is a mash-up of a lot of genres," says Craig. "It has a lot of these different elements to it that horror and horror comedies don't usually have. Usually within even a horror comedy you don't care as much about the lead characters as you do in this. Part of the tension in this film comes from the feeling of the audience, like, 'Don't you dare hurt these guys.' You don't want to see them get killed or hurt. There are a lot of really ludicrous things, within the implausible, maybe even farcical plot…[but] Tucker and Dale are always reacting in a way that seems honest, according to their character."
Being the son of actress Sally Field and admittedly "a little bit squeamish" when it comes to gore, Craig is a bundle of contradictions, much like the film he's conceived, which is exactly why Complex decided to probe this filmmaker's mousetrap mind. So before you catch Tucker & Dale vs. Evil in theaters this Friday (or on VOD right now), check out Eli Craig's 10 Favorite Horror-Comedies.