Director Joe Dante, who brought the world Gremlins back in 1985, teams up with Anton Yelchin (Star Trek, Odd Thomas) to deliver a hysterically funny comedy horror with more than a little gore and a lot of genre references. Written by Alan Trezza (who wrote and directed the 2008 short film of the same name) the film is about nice guy Max (Yelchin) whose girlfriend is needy and clingy, even after death.
Max works in a “Halloween” horror shop and while unpacking a “Satan Genie” he and his girlfriend agree to be together forever. The genie glows and later when Max asks Evelyn (Ashley Greene) to meet him at the dog walking park to break up, she is hit by a bus and dies.
Olivia (Alexandra Daddario), the owner and proprietor of the “I Scream” ice cream parlor asks Max out on a weird date, they go to the cemetery and pass by Evelyn’s grave. She climbs out of her coffin to return to her boyfriend and things quickly spiral out of control.
Soon, Max has his zombie girlfriend controlling his life from beyond the grave. True love becomes difficult for him as he fights to keep seeing Olivia and tries to put Evelyn back into the ground.
This is an honest to goodness laugh out loud film. Dante has lost none of his directorial touch with the horror/comedy genre. While this film has none of the unique creepiness of Dante’s 2009 film The Hole he has shown that the return to his comic roots was a brilliant move.
Anton Yelchin may have become a household name with his portrayal of Chekov in the new Star Trek film franchise but he is no stranger to the horror genre. Odd Thomas in 2013 had Yelchin playing the title character and doing a decent job. Arguably, this film (based on a Dean R. Koontz novel of the same name) was less comedic and more of a foray into the world of fantasy/horror.
The actor does a brilliant job playing the hapless nice guy who inadvertently ends up with a zombie girlfriend. Just as impressive is Alexandra Daddario as the girl who is his real soul mate. A young lady who loves all the things he does and is a walking pop cultural reference book. Dante fills the movie with references to other horror films and even appears to tip his director’s hat to Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead at the end of the movie.
Real kudos go to Ashley Greene as Evelyn, the girlfriend from hell. Her comedic timing is brilliant and she is perfect as the “zombie in denial” still in love with her perfect boyfriend. Greene sells it, full stop.
Burying the Ex is not meant to be high art, it is a bit of fun and Dante shows his familiarity with the genre that he does so well. Dick Miller even shows up and film fans will remember Miller from Gremlins, Small Soldiers and a number of other Dante projects, including the director’s stint on the Eerie, Indiana television series (Dante directed several segments) episode The Losers in 1991.
Fans of the genre will have a heyday picking out the different references and the various clips from horror films. This is a 4.5 out of 5 star film, not completely original enough for a full five, but funny enough to warrant the almost full complement. Great entertainment that is streaming on US Netflix at the moment. There is not too much gore, it is a comedy horror after all, just enough to keep it from being too “kiddy.” A real Dante delight.