Burying the Ex – Film Review
So I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ashley Greene the last time I saw her (in The Apparition, if you hadn’t guessed).
And here she is sniffing around the horror genre, again. And she’s brought along Alexandra Daddario from the dreary Texas Chainsaw, and Anton Yelchin from the passable Odd Thomas.
By their kinda-horror powers combined, will this movie be any good?
TL;DR It’s okay. Nothing to write home about, but it won’t set your hate fire aflame. Ashley Greene and Alexandra Daddario bring what charm they can, and the effects work is alive with juiciness. But Anton Yelchin must have fallen asleep on the script and ruined it with his drool. 2 out of 5 stars.
He’s lucky he’s pretty.
The plot is basic enough. Anton Yelchin is a 20-something guy who works at a novelty shop that sells horror-themed stuff. Ashley Greene is his overbearing, type-A bitch girlfriend. They accidentally wish upon a mysterious devil from the shop that they want to stay together forever, despite Anton being desperate to dump her, and when Ashley dies, this wish comes true in the form of her zombification. Alexandra Daddario complicates things further by showing up as Anton’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl (well, chill, coloured extensions dream girl), which Ashley isn’t a huge fan of. Eventually, Anton has to choose (like there’s even a choice), and he chooses Alexandra, which leaves Ashley dead again. For real this time. Anton’s sleazy brother also shows up for comic relief every now and then, and ends up zombified by Ashley after he tries to kill her.
It’s what he deserved.
I mean, in earnest, Burying the Ex isn’t trying to break any ground or reinvent any wheels. It just wants to be a kooky little horror comedy with some cute, young stars. And it accomplishes that.
If only it were any good.
Why I hate this movie:
The poor thing just absolutely reeks of having no budget, and very little effort or care put in across the board. The only exception is the makeup and effects department, who go all out in making Ashley as scarred and oozy as possible (I would expect nothing less from the director of Gremlins). And thank God that stuff works, because without it, there’d be nothing worth remembering about Burying the Ex.
The worst offender is Anton Yelchin. From seeing him in Fright Night, Odd Thomas, and the Star Trek movies, I had some measure of faith in him as a put-upon hero. But the way he sleepwalks through scenes in this movie is almost hard to believe. I sat there dumbfounded several times during the movie at just how unemotional and weak his performance was. Bitch was only there to get paid.
When it comes to characters, though, demerit points simply have to be awarded to the sleazy brother character. He is just 100% an arsehole. His only purpose is to propel thoughts and decisions that Anton’s character needs to make, but can’t, because if he did then he would be impossible to like as a protagonist. The lowlight is his callous insistence that they simply murder Ashley so Anton can bed Alexandra without interference. Or you could, you know, go to the authorities or something?
Ashley’s character is a mostly stock-standard demon girlfriend. Even before the zombification. So it was hard to care much about her predicament.
The only character who isn’t either a jerk or a bore is Alexandra Daddario’s. But she suffers from the opposite end of things: she’s too perfect. She’s cool, available all the time, will put up with all the bullshit excuses and shenanigans Anton makes her endure. And she even owns a horror-themed ice-cream store, which, wouldn’t you know it, has just the right amount of retail space for Anton to live his dream of opening his own novelty store. Good grief.
After Sleazy Brother fails to kill Ashley, and ends up dead, instead, Anton finally goes to the police. But instead of simply telling them that his girlfriend has killed his brother and to go arrest her, he tries to explain to them about how she’s a zombie. Dude, they didn’t need to know that. Just tell them she’s a murderer and that’ll do.
Oh, and Ashley has an office job as a vegan blogger or something. Fuck. Off.
But it’s not all bad:
Ashley does, surprisingly, avert some of the more stereotypical Bitch Girlfriend qualities, though. She is super horny, both pre and post zombification. And not just in general: she really does want to bang Anton, her boyfriend. The usual Bitch Girlfriend would be frigid as fuck, if not cheating with someone else. So this was a very welcome boost to the character.
Ashley Greene brings the most energy to the movie. Which isn’t that hard considering Anton Yelchin’s snooze of a performance, but I’ve gotta give the girl points. Of all the Twilight supporting cast, I expected her to do the best. The Apparition gave me a scare (but not the right kind, obviously), but I have had some of my hope in her restored now.
Alexandra Daddario doesn’t really have much to do, but she shines with star quality. Maybe I should put my HBO hate aside and watch True Detective?
The ice-cream shop is pretty cool.
The effects go way beyond what you would expect in a movie like this. Joe Dante has had a long dry spell, but it’s good to see he still has an eye for the gleefully grotesque.
Ashley gets best line of the movie during a realisation about her new life as a zombie: “I’m not even hungry. I’m gonna lose so much weight! Being dead is the best diet ever.” That would have been my first though, too.
Sleazy Brother thinks Ashley being back at Anton’s apartment after her death means that Anton is fucking her dead body, and isn’t fazed by it. I lol’d.
Oh, and both female leads are, in real life, older than the male lead. That’s progressive.
Burying the Ex should have been a lot zanier and a lot wackier. Instead, it’s low on energy, and low on stakes. I’m shocked to say it, but what a waste of an Ashley Greene performance. Anton let you down, baby. 2 out of 5 stars.
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