Its been well documented that I favor horror comedies. Burying the Ex holds a particular fondness due in large part to the fact that I have a soft spot for romantic comedies and I find the current one star on Rotten Tomato’s to be unjustified. I can’t help but notice that much of the criticism of this film is due to it not being on par with director Joe Dante’s other work, namely The Howling, and Gremlins. Which is incredibly unfair as The Howling in my opinion is boring, where Burying the Ex is no,t and Gremlins is a timeless Christmas classic. So, for me the comparison holds as much weight as if Burying the Ex was being compared to Silent Night, Deadly Night.
The story is simple and very straight forward. Max (Anton Yelchin) is a B-Movie enthusiast, who works in a costume/prop store. Max’s girlfriend Evelyn (Ashley Greene) is an environmentally conscious, professional blogger, who is a bit of a control freak. Who constantly clashes with Max’s half-brother Travis (Oliver Cooper), an adult man-child that use’s Max’s apartment to hook-up with beautiful women. Max receives a Satan Genii statue with instructions claim it will grant a single with the evil way. This wish happens later, when Evelyn is visiting Max work in the form of a promise to always be together. Shortly after Evelyn moves in and starts to elicit more control over Max, while being jealous and over protective. Things start coming to a head when the pair, at Max’s behest stop at an Ice Cream parlor run by Olivia (Alexandra Daddario). Evelyn openly insults Olivia over what she see’s as Max and her flirting. The relationship turns sour when Max comes home from work to find that Evelyn has completely redecorated their apartment, getting rid of or putting way Max’s possessions, accidentally ruining vintage posters in the process. Evelyn is unable to see why Max is upset about this, resulting in Max finally wanting to end the relationship. He asks Travis for advice who gives the classics, namely breaking up in a public place. Max calls Evelyn the next day while she’s at work asking her to meet him at the dog park. Evelyn believing that he got them a dog rushes over to see him, gets hit by a bus and dies in his arms. Max falls into an expected bout of depression following Evelyn’s death, of which he blames himself. At Travis’s urging to get out of the apartment, Max goes out to see a double feature and runs into Olivia. The two share chemistry and start dating, right when Evelyn comes back to life as a zombie. This noticeably complicates Max’s life as he trapped between Evelyn, who see’s her return to life as a sign of their true love and Olivia, who Max now has feeling for and has the added bonus of not being a zombie. But the longer Evelyn is alive the more crazed and possessive she becomes, with intentions to kill Max so they can be together forever…
I’ll admit that Burying the Ex is more a romantic comedy with a bit of horror thrown in. Much in the same style as warm bodies, a film that has horror elements. But, doesn’t try to leave you with any feeling of lasting dread or unease and defiantly favors the elements of black comedy over the elements of horror. Furthermore admittedly the be careful what you wish for moral is very tired and it feels tired in the is film.
Not that Burying the Ex is devoid of horror or fun as the film boasts some memorable moments. All of which focus on Evelyn and just how obsessive, manipulative and generally how toxic her and Max’s relationship is. Especially post mortem Evelyn, who has a marked mental decline and who can blame her? She died and was resurrected by dark magic’s that promised to grant wishes the evil way. Ashley Greene in my opinion did a great job in the role, adding depth to character in what could be considered a weak script.
Final thoughts, Burying the Ex is a better film than it seems to be getting credit for. Sure it’s no masterpiece of the horror genre like, arguably, some of Joe Dante’s other work. But being scary isn’t only what this film is trying to deliver, and a lot of the film’s flaws in my opinion don’t come from the acting or direction. The former bringing like-able characters you root for and villain you love to hate, along with the later which manages to take a below average script and deliver 88 minutes of entertainment. 7/10