Burying the Ex

BE1

Horror loving Max was tiring of his overbearing, vegan girlfriend Evelyn, but before he got the chance to end his relationship with her, a bus did the job for him. Evelyn didn’t stay dead though, some mysterious power has brought her back to life, and the thing she wants most is to be with Max, and no one is going to stand in her way.

Burying an ex-lover, be that an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, is always a bad idea. Everyone knows that you don’t bury them, you use an acid bath, that’s the proper way to dispose of them, though if that ex happens to be vegan, they may come back to haunt you for using nasty chemicals instead of going with the more green method of backwoods disposal. I’m kidding of course, one should never murder a loved one and dump the body in the woods, no, that’s what the dumpster behind Denny’s is for, or so I’m told. I would obviously never do such a thing, not because I’m of great moral character mind you, I just wouldn’t want to waste the meat. Besides, anything that was left by the time I was done would probably be reanimating, and lord knows I wouldn’t want to have a new brother or sister reanimating behind a Denny’s. They’d be all alone, hungry, and likely to attack the first person they see coming out of the place, and I wouldn’t wish the vile taste of someone who’s eaten at Denny’s on my worst enemy. Might as well have them eat Ronald McDonald, at least he comes with a toy.

Our film begins with a man named Max (played by Anton Yelchin). Max, a huge horror fan who works at a year round Halloween store called Bloody Mary’s Boo-tique (get it), is preparing to move in with his girlfriend Evelyn, an overbearing vegan who constantly worries about the environment to an almost unhealthy level. Not too long after the move, the Boo-tique receives a new shipment of costumes and props, among them a strange looking bobble-head in the form of a devil. Max does what any man would do, invites his girlfriend to come try out some of the costumes for some sexy time fun. After a few now sullied outfits have been tested for their arousal value, Max makes a promise that he will be with her forever, a promise that’s made right in front of the mysterious bobble-head. Things go great for a while, but Evelyn’s overbearing attitude and insistence on ecofriendly everything soon leads to Max becoming annoyed with the girl, something made worse when she has a small meltdown after Max talks about horror themed cereals with a horror fan of the fairer sex. When Max returns home the next day to find his apartment has been turned into a hippie’s wet dream, he storms off to spend time with his half-brother. Max decides that it’s just too much for him and makes the decision to break up with the girl, only to have a bus end things for him instead when it runs her over. Time goes by and though Max feels guilty about the way things ended, he moves on with his life, eventually even starting up a romance with the horror fan he’d met before, the one with whom Evelyn took offense to, but things aren’t as over as they seem when Evelyn comes back from the dead ready to rekindle her relationship with Max. The smell coming from the undead woman as she continues to rot isn’t the worst of it as Evelyn begins to experience a hunger she can’t quite understand, but one that will soon force Max’s hand one way or another.

BE8{Or force his machete}

One of the first things I heard about this film was a comparison between it and the recent zombie love story Life After Beth in which the titular Beth comes back from the dead to be with her lover Zach. I have to admit to being worried myself that Burying the Ex was going to be a simple copy, different characters, different location, maybe a few new plot points, but all in all, the same film with a new title. I can happily state for anyone equally worried that this is not the case. The movies do have their similarities, as do most love stories of any genre, but they are completely different flicks with Life After Beth dealing with a living character mourning the death of the woman he loved and Burying the Ex dealing with a living character who had already grown apart from the woman he once loved and ready to move on with his life. It turns out I had nothing to worry about regardless as Burying the Ex is based on a 2008 short written by the same man who adapted the movie, Alan Trezza, and staring John Francis Daley and Danielle Harris, a short I haven’t seen but will undoubtedly look up now that I know Danielle Harris is in it. Now that I’ve addressed any worry over watching a recreation of Life After Beth, let’s get on with a proper review.

{This one has more graveyard romance}

I enjoyed the story immensely, especially how it looked at the faults in both characters, Max and Evelyn. Evelyn’s vegan, ecofriendly lifestyle is a subject of stereotyped mockery, but that’s not presented at any time as her fault, no, her fault is in trying to change Max into the person she wants him to be, which is more or less a male version of herself. She can’t accept that the man she chose to have a relationship with isn’t of the exact same mindset, like a religious person dating an atheist and then becoming upset that said atheist won’t accept God. She not only constantly attempts to change him, but forces changes on him without his consent such as rearranging his entire apartment to fit her ecofriendly standards, all without even bothering to ask him. The few times he does decide to stand up for himself, she berates him until he backs down, and this then shows his fault in their relationship because he refuses to man up and tell her that he doesn’t agree with what she’s doing and doesn’t want anything to do with her lifestyle, instead going along with everything Evelyn wants to do without any regard to how he might feel. He could at any time tell her how he really feels, they might even be able to forge a more honest and therefore stronger relationship, but never does until things have come to a point that there is no chance to fix the relationship. If he told the woman how he really felt, the events of the film would likely have never transpired, ending instead with the two either going their separate ways or moving past the problems she refused to acknowledge and he ignored. His cowardice also plays into Evelyn’s return from the grave in that he won’t tell her the relationship would have ended before her death and reverts to his old habits of simply ignoring the problem and hoping it will fix itself. Of course he now has the threat of a possibly homicidal Evelyn devouring his flesh should he upset her, but he still could have done something other than acting as if their relationship is still okay, all the while pursuing another woman. I liked that neither one is presented as being perfect in the story, both being equally at fault for the circumstances that lead to one being undead and the other being afraid of becoming zombie chow.

BE4{When your relationship reaches this stage, you’ve ignored several warning signs}

The main problem from having a story setup like this is in finding nothing of value within the characters. After all, if a movie focuses all on two characters’ faults the whole time, the viewer is likely to tune out after a bit, losing interest in people who have created their own mess by ignoring the problems that are extremely apparent to the viewer. Thankfully, that’s not entirely the case. While Burying the Ex does spend a lot of time looking at a failed relationship that was brought down by two people unwilling to take an honest look at themselves, the characters aren’t written to be unlikable assholes. They’re written to be people with faults, in other words, they’re written to be human beings. Yes, you wish they would have handled their situation before it spun out of control, but you’ll also see the times in your life, in one relationship or another, where you were either the overbearing Evelyn, too intent on forcing your way of thinking on your partner, or the willfully ignorant Max, too intent on hoping your problems will solve themselves. Beyond this, they are played by great actors in both Ashley Greene’s portrayal of Evelyn (whom Twilight fans will recognize as Alice Cullen) and the extremely talented Anton Yelchin as Max. Yelchin, who stole this zombie’s heart as Chekov in the Star Trek remakes, does a terrific job with Max, adding charm, humor, and just enough bumbling nice guy to the character to make him extremely likable to the audience. Greene does well with Evelyn as well, and you have to really hand it to the woman that she was able to take a character that was so full of “annoying vegan” stereotypes and keep her from becoming a bad joke to the viewer, a nod to both the talent of the writing, though they could have toned it down just a bit, and the talent of the actress.

BE6{These two are great together}

Another little nod to the writing talent was in the way they threw in things for the horror fans to recognize throughout the film, things that give you hints as to the film’s inspirations. A few of the ones I caught were:

  • A moving truck with the words “Romero and Sons” is an obvious reference to Romero’s classic zombie flicks. His Night of the Living Dead film began the era of zombies as we’ve come to know them today.
  • The mysterious bobble headed devil that seemingly grants Max’s wish of everlasting life with his girlfriend was very reminiscent of the 1960 Twilight Zone episode “Nick of Time” in which William Shatner finds a devil headed, fortune telling machine in a diner that appears to foretell the future but may in fact be simply granting his wishes. That episode was the first thing I thought about upon seeing the bobble-head.
  • There’s also references to older horror flicks that have become classics in the eyes of many horror fans, references that are brought up by characters or shown throughout like the theatre playing a double feature of Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie.

It was a nice touch adding these in throughout the movie for horror fans to catch as the movie goes on, and it showed the love of the genre from the filmmakers. I’d imagine there are even more of them that I missed but will catch upon repeated viewings, and trust me, there will definitely be repeated viewings.

BE9{Captain Kirk’s most nefarious foe after Khan}

Burying the Ex isn’t a gore driven film, so don’t expect a whole lot of bloody action, but that doesn’t mean what’s there isn’t good when the film does decide to throw some gore the viewer’s way. Not only does Evelyn slowly decay as the movie goes on, coming out of the grave looking more or less alright and slowly falling apart as one would expect a corpse to do, but those poor unfortunates unlucky enough to get on her bad side will not find a happy ending. The practical effects are extremely well done, though I would question why they choose to go with CGI flies to show Evelyn’s rotting nature.

{Evelyn goes from simply looking tired}

BE2{To “How much did I drink last night”}

Burying the Ex is something I think horror fans are going to enjoy, and zombie fans are going to love. I’d recommend giving it a watch next chance you get.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling)

Starring: Anton Yelchin (Odd Thomas, Terminator: Salvation), Ashely Greene (Twilight Saga, Staten Island Summer), and Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson Films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D)

Written By: Alan Trezza

Released By: Image Entertainment, Voltage Pictures, and Act 4 Entertainment

Release Year: 2014

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

Rotten Heads: Four Heads Out of Five

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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