Friday, 19 June 2015



Another horror comedy that's aiming for sweet and likeable with the -zom- bit of "romzomcom" reducing the horror angle to a minor detail, Burying The Ex (a literally accurate though not terribly inspiring title) is the latest from Joe Dante, who frankly doesn't make anywhere near enough films but it has to be said that this isn't one of his best. It's nice, it's funny, I certainly enjoyed it, but the small scale of the film - only four significant speaking roles and a handful of cameos - doesn't allow Dante to let rip in the way that films like Gremlins or The Howling did.

Essentially this is a likeable and enjoyable breaking-up romantic comedy that goes beyond the death of one of the participants. Overbearing environmental activist Evelyn (Ashley Greene) is totally in love with diffident horror memorabilia shop manager Max (Anton Yelchin) and blind to the idea that the relationship is anything but mutually blissful. Her delusions of eternal love are dashed when she's killed in a traffic accident - but thanks to a Satan genie toy in Max's shop, she claws her way out of the grave as a zombie, fully prepared to do whatever is necessary to continue their doomed relationship despite the presence of Max's new girlfriend, ice-cream seller Olivia (Alexandra Daddario)....

Maybe it's just a shame that we've already had a girlfriend-comes-back-from-the-dead movie in the last nine months with Life After Beth, which was also sweet and charming and played down the ghoulishness in favour of warm-hearted (if no longer beating) relationship comedy. What Burying The Ex does have in its favour is Joe Dante, which means plenty of movie references, clips from Night Of The Living Dead, The Gore Gore Girls and The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (unforgivably spelled Rights in the end credits) and posters for Antonio Margheriti's Italian SF movies. And it also means a cameo from the great Dick Miller, at which point I silently cheered (he's even playing a character named Paisley!).

Burying The Ex is nothing remarkable, a pretty thin little indie comedy, but it's nice and amusing and likeable enough. It is striking that its two female characters are such polar opposites: Olivia is funny, laid back, sweet and sexy and knows all the obscure pop culture references of Max's world, while Evelyn is strident, humourless, and irrationally and pathologically jealous to the extent of not even accepting her own death as reason enough for her former boyfriend to see someone else. Really it's hard to see how Max ended up with a girl like Evelyn in the first place. Lowbrow grossout comedy is provided by Max's slobbish and sex-mad brother Travis (Oliver Cooper), but neither he nor the rest of the film are anywhere near revolting enough to warrant more than a 15 certificate (it hasn't actually been to the BBFC yet). There's a post-credits sting, but it's just a brief bit of behind-the-scenes footage.


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