SHE’S DEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE
Whilst Zom-Rom-Coms are all the rage and certainly sweeten the zombie genre pot, many ultimately fumble as it’s one hell of a tough sub-genre to nail. Managing to strike a perfect balance between killer comedy and undead dread whilst injecting some emotional depth is always going to be tricky but, despite the odd stumble, Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex successfully manages to resuscitate the decaying zomedy genre.
Based on Alan Trezza’s original fifteen-minute short, the film will most definitely appeal to mainstream audiences and horror junkies alike thanks to its blend of consistent cadaverous comedy, a superb cast and umpteen winks and tips of the hat to genre classics. With Dante on directorial duties and Jonathan Hall as serving DP, the film’s retro tone and ridiculously exaggerated comedy brings Tales From the Crypt or Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her instantly to mind.
The outstanding leads deftly navigate the script’s humour, horror and romance, especially Alexandra Daddario who really spices up the film’s tragicomic moments. Anton Yelchin’s Max will certainly appeal to the horror aficionado in all of us whilst Ashley Greene’s Evelyn – Max’s undead ex – takes her cadaverous rampage to hilarious and horrific extremes. This is enhanced by the make-up mastery of Gary Tunnicliffe, renowned for his Hellraiser work, as he progressively converts Greene into the gorgeously ghastly Evelyn. Call me a broken record if you want but I can’t repeat enough times how excellent Daddario is as Max’s new love interest, the geeky yet gorgeous Olivia. It’s not surprising she’s cropping up in so many hit shows and films of late as she just steals every scene she is in with her outstanding acting range and comedic chops.
Whilst most of the comedy is ultimately dead funny I ended up feeling a little vexed at the plethoric use of hormone-heavy humour with the twenty-somethings even hornier than a herd of ravenous rabbits. It didn’t really do any detriment to the film as a whole but it would have been nice to have seen a few more witticisms that didn’t rely on the protagonists’ coitus fixations.
All in all, Burying the Ex isn’t without its flaws, but there’s no denying its ubiquitous appeal, something the mind behind the likes of Gremlins and Inner Space has always had a knack for creating. Dante’s definitely back on form as he hits the coffin nail on the head with this devilishly dark comedy.
Words: Howard Gorman (@HowardGorman)