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Burying the Ex Blu-ray Review

Burying the Ex (2015) movie poster Burying the Ex

Theatrical Release: June 19, 2015 / Running Time: 90 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Joe Dante / Writer: Alan Trezza

Cast: Anton Yelchin (Max), Ashley Greene (Evelyn Morrison), Alexandra Daddario (Olivia), Oliver Cooper (Travis), Dick Miller (Crusty Old Cop Paisley), Archie Hahn (Chuck), Julia Marchese (Disgruntled Customer), Wyndoline Landry (Goth Girl #1 Demetria), Mary Kate Wiles (Goth Girl #2), Mark Alan (Bartender), Ozioma Akagha (Kat), Stephanie Koenig (Kendra), Katie Ross (FHM Centerfold), John Hora (Grumpy Customer)

Buy Burying the Ex on Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy / Buy from Amazon.com: DVD Instant Video

In the 1980s, when he was at his most collaborative, Steven Spielberg aligned his talents with those of various other gifted filmmakers of his generation. Whether he was tag-teaming directing duties or serving as hands-on producer to someone else, Spielberg had a hand in many a highlight of others' careers that decade. When the '90s came, Spielberg became stretched pretty thin, alternating between blockbusters and prestige pictures, while ostensibly overseeing a bunch of Warner Bros. animated TV shows on the side.
Some of Spielberg's '80s creative partners continued to succeed without him: Back to the Future trilogy director Robert Zemeckis helmed Forrest Gump, repeat writer Chris Columbus became a successful comedy director, *batteries not included scribe and "Amazing Stories" contributor Brad Bird worked on "The Simpsons" and later went to Pixar. But others failed to thrive as they had with Spielberg on their side and soon fell off Hollywood's radars. No director better represents this class than Joe Dante.

The tastes of Dante and Spielberg seemed quite compatible during the '80s, the decade that saw Dante direct Gremlins, Innerspace, one-fourth of Twilight Zone: The Movie, and two episodes of "Amazing Stories" for Spielberg. Dante, a B-movie buff who had gotten his start with schlock king Roger Corman, was the right man to helm genre-bending tales of suburbia for Spielberg. But after the loony 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch disappointed at the box office, neither seemed to be in a rush to reteam with one another. While Spielberg broke records with Jurassic Park and hearts with Schindler's List, Dante moved over to television for a bit, suitably serving as creative consultant and occasional director for the endearing yet short-lived "Eerie, Indiana."

In 1998's would-be summer tentpole Small Soldiers, Dante got what was intended to be a major gig in the early days of Spielberg's DreamWorks. But critics didn't love the movie, many of them comparing it unfavorably to Toy Story, and audiences didn't make it a hit. Five years passed before Dante took another major directing credit and it proved to be a regrettable one: grossing just $21 million on an $80 M budget to mixed reviews, Looney Tunes: Back in Action was an epic flop that essentially closed the book on the Warner franchise's theatrical career. In the twelve years since, Dante has been fairly scarce and somewhat insignificant. He's directed episodes of "Splatter", an interactive web series representing one of Netflix's first forays into streaming original programming, and of CBS' "Hawaii Five-O." He's also made a couple of small horror movies barely given theatrical release, including the subject of this review: Burying the Ex.

Max (Anton Yelchin) is less than delighted to see his ex-girlfriend (Ashley Greene) back from the dead in "Burying the Ex."

Burying is horror-comedy, a combination perhaps no one has mastered as well as Dante did in Gremlins. But whereas he's typically made the kind of horror movies that kids can watch and be haunted by, this one is rated R and aimed chiefly at adults.

Los Angeles horror hound Max (Anton Yelchin) is mostly happy in his relationship with Evelyn (Ashley Greene). Max, who works at Bloody Mary's Boutique but dreams of opening his own scare shop, loves his live-in girlfriend, but sometimes the strident vegan environmentalist blogger can be a bit domineering. Like when she wakes up to find Max's oafish half-brother Travis (Oliver Cooper) stark naked after a threesome on their couch. Or when she spoils an outing to get malted beverages with an anti-milk rant. Evelyn goes too far when she redecorates the apartment while Max is away at work, ruining his rare, valuable old foreign movie posters and painting the walls an unsightly but earth-friendly bright green.

Before Max can break up with her, Evelyn gets hit by a bus and killed at the 23-minute mark. Depressed and guilty, Max has his spirits lifted spending time with Olivia (Alexandra Daddario), the purple-streaked owner of a homemade ice cream novelty shop, whose hip flavors include one that utilizes the discontinued General Mills monster cereal Fruit Brute. Olivia, who shares Max's love for old horror movies, has just broken up with a born-again Christian and is eager to enter a sexual relationship with Max. But, his relationship with Evelyn is not yet done. While alive she voiced a desire for them to always be together in the presence of a Satan Genie talisman that unexpectedly arrived amidst his workplace's usual orders of slutty Halloween costumes. The Satan Genie's eyes turned red and his body started smoking, so you knew the wish would be granted somehow. Days after her death, Evelyn digs her way out from the ground and turns up at Max's place.

Everyone can see and hear Evelyn, whose complexion is a pale gray and whose appetite is non-existent. Freaked out, Max wants no part of resuming the moribund romance, but he can't bring himself to try ending it. (Though she seems like she'd be pretty easy to shake.) Meanwhile, though she grows more decomposed with each passing day, complete with skin falling off, Evelyn discovers newfound strength, an unexpected craving, and imperviousness to dying again.

After Evelyn's death, Max (Anton Yelchin) learns he shares far more common interests with homemade ice cream shop owner Olivia (Alexandra Daddario).

I really wish I could say a bunch of nice things about this movie. I like most of Dante's output quite a bit. His previous movie, The Hole, which first screened in 2009
but didn't reach theaters and home video until 2012, showed a director who hadn't lost his touch, which makes his absence from contemporary cinema both puzzling and sad. By filling the three lead roles with young, in-demand, and fairly recognizable actors (none of whom was alive when Gremlins was released), Dante seemed poised to make something of a comeback on Burying the Ex. But following a poorly-reviewed, very limited June theatrical release, that is not to be.

You can understand Dante's attraction to the material; the movie is filled with clips of old, obscure horror movies and Max's job is probably something the director would have dug in his twenties. But the screenplay by Alan Trezza does not tap into Dante's talents. Trezza is a newbie whose only previous credit is a 15-minute 2008 short of the same name and premise starring John Francis Daley as Max Zak, Mircea Monroe as Evelyn, and Danielle Harris as Olivia. As someone with evident fondness for old horror movies, he must have been ecstatic by the prospect of Dante directing his movie. If only he had something better to offer the fading legend.

The movie establishes an unpleasant tone early with the character of Travis, a womanizer with no apparent appeal. Admirably, the movie resists painting Evelyn as a full-on bitch, imbuing her with redeeming qualities that initially overshadow her annoying tendencies and excusing some of her behavior to her orphan status. But resurrection of a not quite loved one is a tough concept to play and Dante doesn't get it right with such gags as a projectile vomit of embalming fluids and having the guy be the one to deflect sexual advances.

It's not all bad, however. The movie includes an appearance by Dante fixture and B-movie legend Dick Miller, subject of the recent documentary That Guy Dick Miller. At 86, he may be a bit old to portray an active police officer, but if that's what it takes for him to fill the movie's fifth biggest role, so be it. Yelchin and Daddario are two of the more appealing actors of their generation and Greene manages to acquit herself reasonably well in a thankless role of a character you're supposed to hate. Dante leans heavier on the romantic comedy angle than the horror ones, which seems appropriate, but might dismay those seeking thrills and surprises. A few gory gross-out moments do not a scary movie make.

A month and change since showing up in theaters, Burying the Ex reaches DVD from Image Entertainment throughout North America on August 4th, but hits Blu-ray a week earlier as a Best Buy exclusive this coming Tuesday.

Burying the Ex Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy exclusively from Best Buy Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: July 28, 2015 (Best Buy Exclusive)
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on DVD ($27.97 SRP; August 4, 2015) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Burying the Ex is clearly a low-budget film, only that isn't so clear from simply watching it. The movie stretches its modest budget (which was supplemented by crowd-sourced funds for post-production costs) and ends up looking good in a dark but sharp and clean 2.40:1 widescreen transfer. The BD's 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is also quite capable, distributing music and dialogue crisply and with some slight directionality.

Evelyn (Ashley Greene) appears in an advanced stage of decomposition on the Burying the Ex Blu-ray's menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Burying the Ex gets no bonus features whatsoever on Blu-ray, not even a trailer.
In an ideal world, Alan Trezza's 15-minute 2008 short on which this feature is based would have been included, as it has yet to be released anywhere on home video or even online.

The disc does open with HD trailers for All Cheerleaders Die, Digging Up the Marrow, and Odd Thomas, none of which are accessible by menu.

That menu loops a fairly routine scored montage of clips above some listings.

No inserts for digital copy or otherwise are found inside the side-snapped keepcase, which uses the reverse side of the cover to promote other Image horror Blu-rays and is topped by an embossed slipcover, a rare touch for the studio. The disc sports a full-color label adapted from the cover art.

This Satan Genie, an unexpected arrival at his workplace, will have drastic consequences for Max (Anton Yelchin).

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Joe Dante has done enough right for me to always be interested in seeing something he directed. But despite some promise, Burying the Ex mostly disappoints as a horror comedy that you're more likely to find annoying than funny. Image's Blu-ray offers fine picture and sound plus a nice slipcover, but the complete dearth of bonus features is unfortunate and ensures interested parties -- and only them -- treat this more as a rental rather than a blind buy.

Buy Burying the Ex on Blu-ray exclusively at Best Buy / Buy from Amazon: DVD Instant Video

Related Reviews:
New: What We Do in the Shadows It Follows Ex Machina Dawn Patrol | Directed by Joe Dante: The Hole Runaway Daughters
Anton Yelchin: Fright Night (2011) Only Lovers Left Alive Rudderless Like Crazy Star Trek Into Darkness Middle of Nowhere
Ashley Greene: The Apparition The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Butter | Oliver Cooper: The Hangover Part III
Alexandra Daddario: Hall Pass Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning Thief Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Horns Over Her Dead Body Arachnophobia Piranha Exterminators Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel

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Reviewed July 25, 2015.



Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 Image Entertainment, RLJ Entertainment, Voltage Pictures, Elevated Productions,
Act 4 Entertainment, Scooty Woop Entertainment, and Artimage Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.