Review: BURYING THE EX

bteThere’s a regular opinion of popular filmmakers hitting their peak and not being able to make good films after said peak. Masters of horror such as Carpenter, Argento and Hooper are quite often thrown into those false statements because of a film here or there (sometimes more than one), and as fan of those filmmakers, it’s somewhat of an irritating thing to hear. After GREMLINS/THE HOWLING director Joe Dante gave audiences the family friendly film THE HOLE, those who were once Dante fanatics seemed to be throwing him into that awful opinion, not having realized that THE HOLE was pretty much a kids’ horror film. Proving the naysayers completely wrong with the zombie horror/comedy BURYING THE EX, Dante returns with a fresh and rejuvenated approach, and a film that not only pay homage to the days of E.C. Comics, but to horror fans and Los Angeles as well.

Wearing its love for the genre confidently on its sleeve, BURYING THE EX gives its audience Max (LIKE CRAZY and BROKEN HORSES star Anton Yelchin), a lifelong horror fan who works at Bloody Mary’s, a genre-themed shop very familiar to Los Angeles staples Dark Delicacies and HalloweenTown. Max dreams of opening his own horror shop, but is without the money to do so. Also adding to his troubles, is the fact that he’s stuck in a dead-end relationship with Evelyn (Twilight‘s Ashley Greene), a girl who has absolutely no interest in what Max likes, wants with his life, and is quite militant when it comes to living green, with everything from refusing certain types of Ice Cream, tearing down Max’s imported horror poster and redecorating their apartment in a very new age-like approach.

The breaking point for Max comes in the form of Olivia (the always great Alexandra Daddario, True Detective, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D), a horror loving soulmate to Max who runs her own genre themed Ice Cream shops, loves similar things, and even seems to instantly like Max. When Max finally gets the courage to break up with Evelyn, he’s beat to the punch by a big bus hitting and killing her.

That point on, is where the film’s horror aspects really come up. Sure we’ve seen countless posters, Hammer films being played in the background and witty references to films within the genre, but due to an empty promise Max made in the presence of a Satanic genie statue, he’s put into hell when Evelyn rises from the dead, intent on making Max a fellow member of the undead.

What makes BURYING THE EX so enjoyable is that it is not only a love letter to horror (and it most definitely is), but it’s also filled with fun performances from Yelchin, Daddario and Greene, with a love triangle that brings a series of funny predicaments that lend themselves to physical comedy and various other entertaining moments. The cast really shines, and you believe that Yelchin could be one of us, that Daddario is one of us and that Greene could very well be a raging woman hellbent on getting what she wants. When actors are able to make you erase every single thing you’ve seen of theirs and believe in their characters, that’s already a true sign of a great film filled with great performers.

It’s also a film that is jam packed with locations that any every person in the horror community can instantly recognize, with scenes taking place in everywhere from The Hollywood Forever Cemetery and their screenings onto the mausoleum, to various bars and clubs that we’ve all had a drink or five in. It’s a Los Angeles film, full of the horror community’s most cherished feelings. That feeling of not being an outsider anymore, but instead, being perfectly content in what you like, and wanting to surround yourself with people who also feel the same. The zombie angle is one that just helps push that genre love to the maximum potential, and it shows just how in tune with the community that Dante really is. The combination of Dante’s direction and an excellently hilarious script by Alan Trezza really come together to make a completely successful horror/comedy, just the kind that shows just how much Dante still has up his sleeve, a fact that puts a huge smile on this writer’s face.

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