Sunday, October 4, 2015

31 Horror Movies in 31 Days: Burying the Ex

by Dan Moore

I love horror movies, so I'm watching one a day in October.  There's no rhyme or reason to the flicks I'm watching. Some I've never seen, some I have. Join the discussion on Twitter with #31Movies31Days 

Day Four: Burying The Ex (2014)

Director: Joe Dante
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario & Oliver Cooper

Joe Dante is one of my favorite directors. The movies he's made are some of the most re-watched films in my esteemable movie watching career. Gremlins 1 & 2, Innerspace (a forgotten classic) and The 'Burbs. All some of my fave flicks. So I had high hopes for this horror comedy mishmash with some undead themes in it. Too bad.

Yelchin stars as Max, a young man working in a horror novelty store who yearns to own his own type of store. His overbearing, vegan GF Evelyn is played by Greene, in a role that's impossible to like her in. She dies and comes back as a zombie because of cursed trinket in the store Max works in. That puts a crimp in Max's newly burgeoning relationship with the ice cream store-owning, horror-movie loving Olivia, played by Daddario (you may remember her and her two co-stars from the 1st season of True Detective. And if not, seek out the below scene. Trust me).

Hilarity is supposed ensue. It does not. The scenes are so badly written it's at times embarrassing to watch. It's just bad when you're watching a film and get totally taken out of a moment because you're thinking "No one talks like this."  An example, Max and Evelyn meet Olivia in her shop to order ice cream. Evelyn goes off on Olivia telling her that her products have pesticides, blah blah and ends by calling her a skank. The scene is there so you know "Evelyn, bad, Olivia, good" but it's so clumsily written you just laugh at it, and not in a good way. The laughs are few and far between. With the exception of Cooper, playing Max's half-brother Travis. He's the one actually funny character in the flick. A horny loser who bangs chicks at Max's apartment because he doesn't want chicks to know where he lives, he's good at being the slacker, best friend type. I laughed at most of his antics.
The tone is also off. It doesn't know if it's a straight up comedy or a horror movie. The switch is jarring at times. It goes from slapstick action to trying to be scary at the drop of a hat. That doesn't work.

THE GOOD: Yelchin, Daddario and Cooper are all very good actors and hold themselves well in the movie. All very likable actors playing likable characters. Dante favorite Dick Miller has a cameo, and it's great seeing the old guy. I also dug all the clips from the old school horror movies mixed intermittently throughout the film. Trying to name them all was great fun.

THE BAD: Greene's character is not likable at all. I realize that's the point, but it makes it hard to understand how a nice guy like Max fell for her in the first place. It goes against his character so much that it doesn't make sense.

THE DUMB: The badly written dialogue. The fact that Evelyn comes back and is basically a horny dead girl for the rest of the movie is just a weird choice for the film to make.

SHIT OR HIT: Definite shit. Even the lovely lady of the house, whose opinion in movies is basically "I love anything with people kissing" said at one point, "This movie stinks, I don't care what happens to any of these people." Then she watched Legally Blonde. Again.

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