I walked with a zombie–my ex.

Joe Dante is known for mixing supernatural horror-fantasy with comedy, fun pop culture references and low-key special effects. Balancing his career with cult classics like Gremlins and work on television for series like Hawaii 5-0, Dante brings his unique brand of horror/comedy back to the big screen in Burying the Ex from a screenplay by Alan Trezza. The film stars Anton Yelchin (Fright Night), Ashley Greene (Twilight), Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas) and Oliver Cooper (Project X).

Max (Yelchin) and Evelyn (Greene) are dating but it’s clear to everyone around them how ill-suited they are for one another. Max is a horror-geek, working at a cheesy costume shop. Evelyn is a vegan-nut who tries to get Max to adapt to her lifestyle. After some prodding from his wannabe playboy brother Travis (Cooper), Max decides to end it with Evelyn. But right before he breaks up with her, Evelyn is killed. Some time later, Max hesistantly starts seeing Olivia (Daddario) who he gets along with. But their romance is interrupted when Evelyn returns from the dead.

burycb2The movie is fun–it has a laidback and easygoing charm. No one is trying too hard. As a teen comedy, this movie works well. It doesn’t add much to the zombie genre–the film takes on a not so subtle metaphor for getting over your exes. But with a game cast, some zany scenes and good dialogue, Burying the Ex is worth a watch.

My major complaint was that it took way too long to get going. The movie is only 90 minutes long including credits but it takes a good 20-30 minutes for Evelyn to die. It’s not treated as a major twist–we know what movie we’re seeing–so I think Joe Dante could have sped things up a bit. Once Evelyn comes back, the film is great. There is some fun slapstick where Max has to deal with two hot girls who are simultaneously aching to jump his bones. What a tough problem for him.

The comedy doesn’t always work. Travis is a mess of a character; the cliche of the schlubby best friend who is constantly horny is annoying at best. He has some funny lines and Cooper s fine. But the guy doesn’t add much and he’s not believable as Max’s brother.

Also, the screenplay tries too hard to make Evelyn a total jerk even while she’s living. I mean, she is really nasty, insidiously manipulative and totally horrendous. I think Trezza wanted Max to feel guilty since Evelyn was killed right before he was going to break it off. But the guilt doesn’t play into the story at all.

daddario-burying-the-ex

Olivia is a total Dream Girl, who happens to like all the same things that Max likes. She almost like a fantasy. I liked that she shared Max’s love for old school horror and had some sort of independent life. I have to say that I found it awesome that Max and Olivia liked real old-school horror, not just 80s stuff. Val Lewton, Night of the Living Dead get shout-outs and it’s cool.

The movie is missing an element of lunacy. While the script flirts with it, I was hoping for more horror-based zaniness. Yeah, the comedy is energetic but the horror parts of it are not out there enough. New horror fans might eat this up but others used to this kind of story will find little to surprise them.

I’m not a huge fan of Anton Yelchin. He’s such a lifeless actor and never looks like he’s having fun. Here, he handles the comedy well enough but he is not a slapstick talent. Alexandra Daddario is so stunning that she’s probably from a different planet. She turns in a good performance too; she’s very charming with her cute-nerd act. But Ashley Greene is pretty great. She clearly enjoys playing an actual supernatural rather than a watered-down version like she did in the Twilight movies. She’s having lots of fun and it shows.

Burying the Ex is somewhat a return to form for Joe Dante. It’s not the late-night classic it could have been. With a tighter script and a better leading man, it would have been much more memorable. For a brisk 90 minutes, however, it is enjoyable. I think teens would really enjoy it on a Friday night sleepover.

'Burying the Ex:' A Cute Zomb-Rom-Com
'Burying the Ex' brings Joe Dante back to horror/comedy and it's entertaining enough.
Rating 7
Pros
  • Good acting from leading ladies
  • Some fun slapstick-horror
  • Brisk 90 minutes
Cons
  • Anton Yelchin is a bore
  • Script isn't very memorable
7Overall Score
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About The Author

Manish first came to love horror through Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Roman Polanski's Repulsion. He still sometimes has to sleep with the TV on after catching the latest scary flick. Manish loves ghost stories, psycho-thrillers and gory horror-comedies. You can check out more of Manish's writing at his personal blog "Mathur & the Marquee" or on twitter @hippogriffrider.