Joe Dante, legendary director of such classics as Gremlins, The Howling, Innerspace and The ‘Burbs tries his hand at directing a ‘ZomRomCom’ with his latest film ‘Burying the Ex’.
Max (The always reliable Anton Yelchin) is a reasonably ambitious nice guy, he is the sole worker in a shop selling horror related paraphernalia and is planning to set up a shop of his own someday. His totally domineering girlfriend Evelyn (Ashley Greene) is not averse to wearing some of the costumes for some kinky sex in the back of the shop, but doesn’t see a future in horror related memorabilia retail for Max, treating it as nothing more than a childish pipedream. She controls every aspect of his life with an almost military expectation and makes him promise that they will be together forever. Unfortunately one of the items in the shop has certain properties capable of ensuring that Max and Evelyn will remain a couple no matter what the future holds.
Initially unaware of what he has got himself into with the ever more demanding Evelyn, Max soon comes to hate being manipulated, so spurred on by his slovenly half-brother Travis (Oliver Cooper) Max arranges to meet Evelyn so he may break up with her in person. There follows the inevitable accident and funeral, leading to Evelyn’s subsequent resurrection several weeks later. What follows is a comedy of terrors, Max has moved on, found a new relationship in the arms of Ice Cream vendor Olivia (Alexandra Daddario) and he is starting to get his life back together until that fateful knock on the door brings the Zombified Evelyn back into his life.
Alexandra Daddario plays the role of Olivia with a deft charm, bringing plausibility to the speed with which Max moved on. As lovely looking and likeable as Olivia is, it is still a lesser role than that of Evelyn. Ashley Greene is outstanding in her portrayal of the obsessive and possessive zombie and within moments of her introduction I felt sorry for Max. Knowing that Evelyn was about to come a cropper was not enough for me; I wanted it to be soon and nasty. Such is the initial impression she makes that Ashley Greene shows she is certainly more than just eye-candy; she dominates every scene she is in from the get-go, which is not an easy thing to do when your leading-man is one of the best actors of his generation. Yelchin's acting is spot on with the delicate balance of his usual nice guy persona hardly dented, even though he is dumping his girlfriend my sympathies were with him as Evelyn is something of a nightmare even before she dies. It would be simple enough for her character to be basic and artificial, but Ashley Greene's timing never misses a beat, ensuring that Evelyn is realistic enough that the viewing audience will know someone with a similar personality and will boo her accordingly.
Based on a short story by Alan Trezza who then developed it into a feature film, the script is not without ambition yet it falls short of expectations, I fear ‘Burying the Ex’ will become a bone of contention for Joe Dante's many fans as it suffers from something of an identity crisis. Those of us who are familiar with Mr Dante's works are aware that there is not much, if anything, that this director cannot pull off. Segment 3 of 1983's Twilight Zone the Movie' saw Dante directing a remake of one of the Twilight Zone's most iconic episodes "It's a Good Life", the general consensus at the time was "If it ain't broke don't fix it", yet in this reasonably early stage of his career he presented an outstanding blend of comedy and drama so finely interwoven with horrors that even the most diehard fan (ME) was satisfied. The horrors in question being not only blatantly obvious visual horror, but the far more subtly implied horror of a nasty little child with complete control over his world. Dante has gone on to provide similar viewing experiences throughout his career.
I think the problem with 'Burying the Ex' is one of time, due to other scheduling commitments the film was shot in less than three weeks and it does unfortunately have a bit of a hurried feel about it. Joe Dante is as previously stated no stranger to comedy or horror and does indeed direct with a view to making the most of what he has, in this particular case the general premise is fine and the actors are first rate, there’s even the obligatory Dick Miller cameo for the aficionados out there. Where this film goes awry in my opinion is the script, it’s just not fresh enough. It's a little off the mark with the humour and it is left to Max’s half-brother Travis (Cooper) to be the true comedy foil, which in all honesty does work, the excellent Cooper is by no means a sympathetic character or merely 'window dressing' to make Max look like less of a loser. He is in fact a cliché turned upside down in that this particular sluggish overweight stoner is actually a massive hit with the (often highly desirable) ladies. It is easy to see why as his personality is funny enough to be attractive and even the familial chemistry between Max and Travis is highly believable.
Burying The Ex is a good film, what stops it from being a classic film is the sense that it doesn't quite know what it wants to be. The humour is spread out a bit too thinly for it to be classed as a comedy, and the horror isn't quite horrific enough for it to be a horror. However, despite this lack of identity, this is still a film that you should go and watch, it is a tightly shot, well acted ensemble piece, with a pair of outstanding central performances, all wrapped in a layer of beautiful Joe Dante charm and wit, Burying the Ex is a hairs breadth away from being another classic film.
Burying The Ex is released 19 June 2015 click here to purchase a copy
Check out the trailer:
Ace Entertainment Films is pleased to announce that comedy/horror film BURYING THE EX from legendary director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Small Soldiers, Innerspace) will be released digitally in the UK on June 19th 2015.
BURYING THE EX launched at the Venice Film Festival in September, and will be available digitally in the UK and USA on June 19th, available to download and view-on-demand on major platforms.
BURYING THE EX stars Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Fright Night) as Max, an all-round nice guy, and Ashley Greene (Twighlight, The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn) as his overbearing but incredibly beautiful girlfriend, Evelyn. Their relationship takes a nosedive after they decide to move in together and Max realises it is time to call it quits, but there's just one problem: he's too afraid to break up with her.
Fate steps in when Evelyn is involved in a freak accident and dies, leaving Max single and ready to mingle. Several weeks later, he has a chance encounter with Olivia, played by Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Hall Pass), a cute and spirited girl who might just be his soul mate. But that same time, Evelyn returns from the grave as a dirt-smeared Zombie and she's determined to live happily ever after with Max... even if that means turning him into one of the undead.
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