It was a witty, sardonic and subversive love letter to the horror genre.
It also has a whole host of themes that would be worth exploring with a youth group (who are all at least 15 and don’t mind a bit of gore)
The main crux of the film is that a group of college students mistake Tucker and Dale as two redneck killers. Through a series of misunderstandings, they believe that the hillbillies are trying to ‘off’ them.
Who are the kinds of people we judge? And what do we judge them for? Is it their clothes, their background, their language, their behaviours?
Let me say first that there’s nothing wrong with making judgements of people. The writers of the bible aren’t against it.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others,
you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:1-2)
This is probably the most famous verse on judging in the bible. But Jesus isn’t saying do not judge people. He’s saying that you should be careful if you do because God will judge you in the same way. We naturally make judgements about people but what is more important is what we do with those judgements. Do we use those judgements to exclude and marginalise people? Or do we make those judgements to include and help?
A few verses later Jesus says this:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7)
I know we often relate this to asking and seeking God for things but I wonder if we can push it a little further and connect it with the idea of judging.
In the film, the college students judge the two hillbillies incorrectly. They then view the hillbillies through their ‘judgement lens’ and see every action in the light of that judgement. When one of the college girls falls off into the water, hitting her head in the process, the hillbillies drag her out of the water and attempt to give her mouth to mouth. One of the college boys sees this and thinks that the hillbillies are eating her face.
What the college students seek; they find. They believe these guys are killers and that’s exactly what they find. Their judgement comes back on them.
I think that’s a great ‘truth’ in our world and one that we have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of. If we act on our judgements in negative ways then a door will be opened for us. And we will find what we sought. It just might not be a good thing.