There are a lot of good laughs in this movie, but my favorite hands down is when a teenager runs head first into a wood chipper, which prompts a blood spattered Tucker to look down into the clogged up maw of the machine and ask “You okay?!”
That scene encapsulates the high wire act of the premise: it’s trying to invert the typical path of a horror movie where the evil hillbilly would be actively trying to shove the college kid into a wood chipper by having the kid throw himself in while the nice hillbilly looks on with complete disbelief. But for that premise to work we also have to buy that this kid was running hard that he was unable to stop himself from going into this gigantic whirring death trap, which is pretty far fetched. He must have seen the five foot tall machine from across the field, and even if he wanted to tackle Tucker he must have known to be careful how he aimed his own body around such a dangerous piece of equipment.
This movie has to contort itself a lot to keep the Tucker and Dale characters’ hands clean even as more and more of the college kids die in improbable ways, and it has to keep the kids dying even though a lot of the miscommunications that started this war between the hillbillies and the college kids could be easily explained away if the two camps just talked to each other. But the sweatiness of the movie’s premise can easily be forgiven because of the quality of it’s actors, who ground the whole thing as well as it can be grounded. They are all believable even when the world around them isn’t, particularly Alan Tudyk as Tucker and Tyler Labine as Dale, both of whom are great in this.
Of course, it helps that this comedy really is funny; that goes a long way towards forgiving it’s contrivances. “You okay?!” indeed.