Director – Joe Dante
Cast – Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario, Oliver Cooper
Release Year – 2015
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I steer clear of most relationship films in general (unless it’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall), so naturally I don’t delve much into said films in the horror genre. Burying the Ex caught my attention because I too have had a daunting ex girlfriend, and I saw that it comes direted by Joe Dante – a director who knows how to have some fun. Burying the Ex is just that – fun. It’s a simple tale that went from a 15 minute short to a feature film. It’s only downside is there isn’t enough story for the feature length, which held it back a bit in the end.
Anton Yelchin stars as Max – a horror film afficionado with a girlfriend from Hell. After making the mistake of moving in with her, he finally has the guts to end the relationship but then suddenly…she dies. Now that he is free to date the true love of his life, his ex returns from the dead to make sure he stays with her…forever.
I dug the premise for the story. It allowed me to put myself in Anton’s shoes and see what I would do in such a situation. Truth be told, that situation really sucked for him. You feel for how trapped he is, as his girlfriend Evelyn runs his life in every form possible. His home, his food, his friends, she has control over everything. This puts a strain on his relationship with his screw-up half brother Travis, who will eventually play a solid role in the story. When he meet Olivia they instantly click thanks to their mutual love for horror films. Evelyn sees this and does her very best at embarrassing him, like she always does. You would think that when Evelyn is killed all of Max’s problems are solved. At first they are. He eventually meets up with Olivia and they form a bond better than any he had with Evenlyn. Somehow (it’s unexplained), Evelyn rises from the dead and instantly inserts herself back into Max’s life. See, he didn’t get to break up with her before she died. So, in her eyes they are still together. This ruins Max’s chances of making things work with Olivia, which leads him down a dangerous path to getting rid of his undead girlfriend…for good, and peacefully too.
The story is character-driven and aside from Evelyn being undead there isn’t much horror. It’s not that type of film. It’s the interactions between everyone that makes it fun. There is plenty of tension as Max is constantly having to watch what he says to keep the undead Evelyn from tearing him to pieces. He must do this while trying to salvage what he has with Olivia before Evelyn ruins him for good. The extreme majority of the film will pass before the first kill hits the screen, and to be honest it isn’t that great of a kill. But, then again, this isn’t that type of flick. What held it back though is it never resulted in a solid payoff. The lack of horror definitely had a negative effect as the constant buildup of conflict didn’t result in a hard-hitting final act or sequence. This is why I felt like there wasn’t enough story to sustain a feature length runtime. Simply put, not enough happens here.
Joe Dante’s direction is solid and the biggest reason behind why I enjoyed the flick (for the most part). His execution of the characters is fantastic and he achieves great performances from everyone involved, although Anton Yelchin steals the show. The conflict and tension I mentioned are a result of Dante’s knowing how to push put the viewer in awkward situations. The few gore scenes are shown via live-action effects, which is sweet. Unfortunately there aren’t many of these scenes as this is not that type of film.
Overall, Buring the Ex is a fun, simple flick that should suffice for those looking for exactly that.