Once you go Norse, you’ll never remorse
Year Released : 2014
Director : Joe Dante
Cast : Anton Yelchin, Alexander Daddario and Ashley Greene
It occured to me that what I haven’t done a lot of during this run of horror films is review a horror film that is mixed with another genre, and based on that I have decided to go with comedy horror “Burying the Ex”.
I must admit that I first heard of this around a year ago and wasn’t interested in it whatsoever, but I’ve decided to give it a chance because I figure “what’s the worst that could happen?”
As well as the above, it occured to me recently that despite having featured in two of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all time (Star Trek and the Terminator), Anton Yelchin has never really kicked on as you would expect, and he has a considerable lack of hits, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can spot a reason why this is the case, if indeed it’s caused by anything other than a personal choice on behalf of him. I would also recommend one of his other films (Alpha Dog) as he is excellent in that.
Max (Yelchin) works at a local gothic accessories shop and thinks nothing of it when he takes a delivery of a seemingly harmless model of a genie. He places it to one side but it is later found by his vegan girlfriend, Evelyn (Greene), and again without thinking anything of it, the two make a promise to be together forever. Neither notices the model’s eyes turn red and it start smoking. Soon after they go to get ice cream as a store that sells horror-named ice cream (such as Frankenberry) and Evelyn launches into a rant at Olivia (Daddario), the server behind the counter.
The two of them get into a fight and in his absense, Evelyn re-decorates their apartment to be 100% environmentally friendly, including folding up Max’s previously pristine movie posters. After talking to his brother, Max phones Evelyn to make things up and asks her to go to the local dog park with him so that they can talk, but Evelyn fails to look properly when crossing the road and she is battered into by a bus. Evelyn dies minutes later.
Soon after the funeral Max runs into Olivia again. They start a relationship, although Max doesn’t tell her what happened to Evelyn, but whilst walking through a cemetery together, Evelyn resurrects. She visits Max and he is understandably terrified and confused. Evelyn reveals that she now knows that her resurrection was caused by the genie status, but she now have considerable more insufferable than before and he must find a way to rid her from his life.
So were my initial instincts of not being interesting correct?
I am mixed on Burying the Ex because it has a lot of positive and very macabre moments, but there are other sections of the film which were tedious beyond the point of reasonability.
Let’s start with the positives and Anton Yelchin again delivers for me as the socially awkward guy that can’t find it in his heart to tell his girlfriend how he feels, even when she’s turned into the undead and doing various sex acts to her is effectively necrophilia. Much like a lot of his other roles, he effectively catches the nervy nature of the character and the insecurities contained within. Yelchin was perfectly cast in the role as the guy with an unusual taste in things, such as his choice of job. He is becoming getting to that point where I expect him to be cast in a socially awkward, or ambitious nerd/geeky style character.
In terms of the actual film itself, whilst not fantastic it kept me interested for a long period of time and although it did feel a little dragged out towards the end, it was at least a relatively original concept and was unlike anything I had seen before (at least nothing that I can think of off of the top of my head anyway). For that I give it a lot of kudos, it was trying something relatively new, and again, I will cavaet that by saying that I can’t think of anything similar, so my apologies if I am incorrect with that statement.
The soundtrack is also very effective and at first I thought Phosphorscent’s “Song for Zula” was a strange choice for a song to be playing over a funeral, but then as it transitions into Max’s mourning for Evelyn it actually starts working very well. I had never heard the song before, but having listened back to it since watching the film I can definitely say it fits the mood of the scene excellently.
Now that the pleasantries are over, it’s time to get onto the negatives and I have to start with the biggest question that comes to mind and that is why were Max and Evelyn ever together? They have precisely nothing in common and I refuse to believe that they would have ever gotten together in any situation as they are just that different. She thinks he needs to grow up from his fascination over gothic/macabre stuff, and he gets increasingly frustrated with her veganism and obsession with the environment. It’s hard to emotionally get invested in a couple that you’re never convinced should be together anyway.
Then we get onto the complete irrelevance of Oliver Cooper’s Travis to the story, other than a bit of comic relief. You could take the character out of the film and the majority of the story wouldn’t even be slightly impacted at all. The character is just the stereotypical slacker style character that you get in a lot of these types of film and if there’s something that I never want to see in horror films, it’s stereotypical and cliched characters.
Despite my earlier praise of Yelchin’s portrayal of the character, the character in question is somewhat tedious to watch. His life would be so much easier if he truly wanted it to be and it wouldn’t have been too hard for Max to actually tell people the reality of the situations. For example, there is no actual reason for him not to tell Olivia that Evelyn is dead. I can understand him not wanting to tell Evelyn that he wants to break up with her because he’s scared, but there is genuinely no reason for him to keep Evelyn’s death from Olivia.
Infact, it’s almost like two completely different films as before her death it is just a mildly annoying comedy-horror, but afterwards it starts bordering on tedium as Evelyn keeps referencing to people that she is already dead without actually telling people she’s dead. This becomes a common theme throughout the entire film as for some reason people just start skirting around the issue.
Burying the Ex just seems to have several issues with various aspects of it’s story and although it flows relatively nicely and keeps me interested in the story, it is obvious why it’s only got average marks on IMDB. It’s not awful by any stretch, but it has too many issues to even start considering giving it the approval stamp.
All of the characters’ issues could have easily been solved if Max just told people how he feels, and that is why the film ultimately didn’t work for me. It relies entirely on Max being unable to tell people the truth of the situation.
Watch it if you must but there are far better zombie films out there.