Tucker and Dave vs Evil and the Theology of Fear

tucker daleAn interesting movie was made back in 2010 called Tucker and Dale vs Evil. It is a definite B-movie and I’ve only seen it free on streaming, like Netflix, so it is easy to see. As someone who has watched a great deal of horror and dark comedies, the title and description interested me. I watched it one night and laughed. It was clever and original. I can only recommend it to those that would enjoy a movie mocking the college/teen horror flicks.

The setup of the movie goes like this: a couple good ole boy rednecks (Tucker and Dale) decide to go up to a cabin for a vacation. On the way, they stop at a convenience store where a group of young college students has also stopped on their way to another cabin. These college students see the rednecks and instantly surmise that they are serial killers. A couple simple coincidences reinforce this idea, and the college students leave the convenience store glad to survive the encounter.

Wouldn’t you know, the rednecks and college students have cabins close to one another on the lake. Tucker and Dale are nice and simple guys, and as they try to meet these college students, their interactions cause even more fear in the college students, and for the rest of the movie, the college students find creative ways to kill themselves running and reacting to their assumption that Tucker and Dale are serial killers.

I love this movie. It is incredibly insightful. Yes, it is a dark comedy made to be silly and stupid and funny, but like another one of my favorite movies, Idiocracy, it makes an important statement.

Tucker and Dale were NOT serial killers, and as the movie continues, they are horrified at the deaths and try to help. But because these educated college students worked with their original assumption, they interpreted what they saw through that assumption. These educated college students were educated enough to kill themselves. They were killed by their own fear.

We live in a culture where more access to information through the internet has ironically led us to have more surface relationships, less real community, and more blanket assumptions based on less facts. We’ve become more divided and closed minded about our tribal positions while being more “educated” than ever before. This happens with every group, but the most accepted group of people to make assumptions about and demonize are the “conservative Christians.”

Conservative Christians are uneducated, bigoted, stupid, superstitious, mean, racist, tyrannical, hate science … and the list goes on. It is the one group it is acceptable to call names. You are educated and cool and progressive if you completely demonize and dismiss this group of people.

We have a current president, supposedly highly educated and tolerant and open-minded (debatable on each point), who said about people in certain areas that voted against him that they were holding on to their “God and guns.” Not possible that they disagree with his policies that trap people into poverty and are based on a lack of science, history, and logic. It must be that they are stupid. Yeah, that’s it.

Of course, we must dismiss that most of the current universities were begun by people who believed conservative values, in education, in the progress of humanity as the image of their Creator. Or that “conservative” Christians have been responsible for countless schools and the rise of education in places that others would never go around the world.

That is not to say that conservatives or Christians are not capable of horrible things. Every human is. But they also do not possess a monopoly on them.

The greatest crime among many in our media is not killing or stealing to get ahead. The greatest crime is to be a conservative Christian. Anything is acceptable except that. Anything.

And so our educated culture runs from the identity and perception with such zeal that they run into buzz saws and axes and creative ways of killing ourselves, all in the name of not being like those we demonize. Any help that conservative Christians attempt to give is interpreted based on that filter and only confirms the perception.

Fear does interesting things. They’ve done studies on the brain, and fear and stress lowers our IQ. Making decisions based on fear is more about survival than progress. Despite how intelligent we try to make ourselves sound, the root of fear is the same and the result is the same – death and destruction, like those college students with Tucker and Dale.

If we believe the wisdom of God, then he tells us that he has not given us a “spirit of fear” but “power, love, and sound mind.” God is good and wants the best for all, and if fear is a root of death and destruction, then God would want to give us something greater and more beneficial.

So what is the solution? For all of us, whether Christian or not, whether conservative or not, let us not look at another and assume because they have perspectives we do not agree with or like, no matter what the issues are, that they are immediate enemies and unworthy of input. When we make those immediate judgments, it says more about our character than theirs. And each individual is worthy of that chance to be a friend as a created person loved by God, no matter who they are.

Peace.

 

 

 

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