Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Burying The Ex (2015)(Spoiler Review)

This review contains spoilers.

As a die hard fan of horror movies, Max (Anton Yelchin) works at Bloody Mary’s, a horror shop featuring costumes and all things horror. Max has dreams of opening his own horror shop, but Max’s obsessive and controlling girlfriend, Evelyn (Ashley Greene) has other plans. Max tries to juggle unwanted drop ins from his irresponsible half-brother, Travis (Oliver Cooper), and Evelyn’s pushy demands, and Max’s complicated situation takes a bizarre turn, when he receives a mysterious satanic genie lamp with the devil’s image sculpted on the top in a shipment of new products at work. During a tender moment, Max and Evelyn promise to be together forever, while sharing a kiss, but at the same time, the couple is unaware of the lamp’s glowing, red eyes.

One day, Max strikes up a conversation with Olivia (Alexandra Daddario), an employee at an ice cream shop. But Evelyn forces Max to leave the ice cream shop, and she scolds Max for flirting with Olivia. To make matters worse, Evelyn crosses a line, when she decides to give the apartment a green makeover without Max’s consent.

Miserable and frustrated, Max tries to stay the course, but after a talk with Travis, Max realizes he needs to move on and break up with Evelyn, so a timid and nervous Max arranges a meeting at a park to end the relationship. But fate intervenes, when Evelyn is hit and killed by a bus, as she crosses the street to meet Max.

After Evelyn’s funeral, Max picks up where he left off with Olivia at the ice cream shop, and the two quickly connect and form a bond through their love of horror movies. Max is ready to move on and start a new relationship with Olivia, but Max’s plans for a fresh start are derailed, when Evelyn’s rotting corpse emerges from her grave.

Evelyn returns with an unwavering sense of dedication, and she is determined to continue her relationship with Max. Meanwhile, Max has to stall an impatient Olivia, so he can figure out a solution for the unprecedented dilemma with Evelyn. Travis offers his help, but Max is running out of time, as a suspicious Evelyn starts to question Max’s loyalty, when he continuously rejects her advances. Will Max choose Olivia? Or will Max do the unthinkable with a second chance for Evelyn?

Yelchin does a good job, as the wimpy, spineless, and soft-spoken boyfriend. You’re waiting for that one moment, when he FINALLY stands up to Evelyn, and says “NO!” because he’s a nice guy, who’s trying to do the right thing. Yelchin holds up his end of the bargain, and you want to see the “enough is enough” reaction, because Ashley Greene is spot on as the controlling and bossy girlfriend. You want to believe Evelyn is a kind hearted soul. She’s a perky environmentalist, who wants positive changes, and to add to that, she’s dedicated to Max, because he filled the void in her life after her mother’s death. But there’s a good chance you’ll change your tune, when Evelyn shows her true colors throughout the movie. As the story progresses, the real Evelyn comes out, and she’s not a ray of sunshine. Evelyn is a  pretentious and condescending control freak, who won’t hesitate to tear into (physically and verbally) any critics.

I honestly can’t think of any real complaints for the rest of the supporting cast. Daddario is believable, as this care-free and likable horror nerd, who’s head over heels for Max, and Cooper is good for a few laughs, as the irresponsible womanizer. Also, Yelchin sharing dual chemistry with Greene, as the agitated boyfriend, who’s stuck in a dead end relationship, and Daddario, as the positive second chance at a happy life is impressive.

Max hesitates too long, and he botches a few attempts to murder Evelyn, so Travis decides to take matters into his own hands with a covert mission, but there’s one problem: Evelyn’s thirst and hunger for flesh and brains kicks in. Travis tries to use his machete to kill Evelyn, but Travis is not fast enough, and Evelyn strikes first. Evelyn eats pieces of Travis, and she hides his mangled corpse behind the couch in Max’s apartment.

Evelyn wants to turn Max into a zombie, so they can live together as a happy couple forever, but Max pulls out a few more stall tactics to buy some time. But Evelyn turns the tables on Max, when she learns the truth about his secret relationship with Olivia. Evelyn kidnaps Olivia, and Max finally tells Evelyn he wants to break up and move on, so an enraged Evelyn snaps. Max and Olivia are stuck in a seemingly impossible life-or-death fight against Evelyn in the apartment, but a zombified Travis pops up to save the day, and he uses the machete to kill Evelyn.

With Evelyn out of the picture, Max and Olivia finally bury her body, and they’re free to move on with their lives as a couple. Together, the two open a half ice cream shop/half horror novelties store called Max & Olivia’s Cream-Atorium (Olivia names her latest flavor of ice cream “Burying The Ex”) , and Travis (as a zombie) joins the business as sign holder. To end the movie, Olivia (playfully) confronts Max about not paying his half of the rent, Max responds with an engagement ring, and of course, Olivia accepts his proposal.

Maybe I’m being too nitpicky here, but are we supposed to believe Evelyn can’t realize Max is stalling her, so he can come up with a plan to escape or get rid of her? During Max’s panicky scrambling to come up with a strategy, Evelyn can’t figure out what’s going on until she picks up Max’s phone to see a text message from Olivia, and I know Evelyn is supposed to be a delusional character, who can’t let go of the past, but Burying The Ex hangs on the edge with unbelievable obliviousness and mind-numbing stupidity during Evelyn’s “WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!” dilemma.

Max choosing Olivia over Evelyn is no real surprise. In fact, you can see Max’s choice coming from a mile away, because Max couldn’t tolerate Evelyn as his girlfriend anymore. Yes, you can say Burying The Ex plays it safe during the home stretch, and Travis returning after Evelyn’s bites was a foregone conclusion, but the movie delivers a satisfying finale, so I don’t have any real complaints.

Burying The Ex is a horror comedy made for horror fans. The movie is loaded with horror references, winks, and clips from vintage horror films, featuring a few all-time greats. There’s a chance others will see the approach to cater to horror fans as a big turn off, but it’s refreshing to see a horror film that’s not afraid to appeal to its core audience.

It’s hard to ignore the noticeable plot hole for the satanic genie lamp. Why did Max receive the lamp? Who sent it to him? How does the lamp work? Is there a limit to the number of wishes for the person, who finds the lamp? Does the lamp come with any rules or restrictions? Of course, common sense leads you to believe the satanic lamp is responsible for Evelyn’s resurrection, but still, Burying The Ex doesn’t provide any answers to some crucial questions.

Also, and this not a complaint (just an observation), but you’ll notice Burying The Ex is a low budget film right off the bat. To give one glaring example, there’s a scene, where Evelyn pukes in Max’s face, because she’s having trouble adjusting to her zombie transformation. Well, this scene is supposed to be one of the bigger gross-out moments in the movie, but Ashley Greene’s vomit looks like Mountain Dew. But if I’m giving credit where credit is due, the gooey and slimy kiss between the zombie version of Evelyn and Max is capable of pulling a reaction out of you. That, and Evelyn’s twisty and bone-crunching yoga scene is good for few a laughs.

Burying The Ex is far from perfect, and the humor is a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, Burying The Ex features one too many corny and eye rolling puns, but every now and then, the cheesy jokes and comedy pulled a few laughs out of me. I won’t go as far as must-see, but if you’re a passionate horror fan, Burying The Ex is one horror comedy that’s worth a try.

Yeah, the through the motions story is predictable, the blatant clichés will probably annoy some people, and if you watch the trailers, you should be able to predict Max’s choice between Olivia and Evelyn. To add to that, there’s a chance Burying The Ex’s style of humor will be too hit-and-miss for some. But Daddario and Yelchin are two likable characters, who you want to root for, and I can’t forget about Greene’s entertaining performance. The gory gruesomeness falls in the passable zone, but in the end, Burying The Ex is a fun horror comedy that has the right amount charm, and it’s just enough to overlook an undeniable plot hole and some apparent flaws.  

Rating- 6/10

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