‘Burying the Ex’ Is Dead on Arrival

Alexandra Daddario and Anton Yelchin in Burying the Ex.
Alexandra Daddario and Anton Yelchin in Burying the Ex.

Burying the Ex is another tiresome entry in a long line of dog-eared zombie comedies—or, as the cyberspace eggheads inventing the new digital dictionary call them, “zom-coms.” The star is the talented, charismatic Anton Yelchin, a young actor who just can’t seem to get a break. The director is Joe Dante, a protégé of B-movie producer Roger Corman, who makes cheesy horror spoofs like Gremlins and Piranha, along with a few good ones like The Howling. This is not one of the good ones.

(1/4 stars)

Written by: Alan Trezza
Directed by:
Joe Dante
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene and Alexandra Daddario
Running time: 89 min.

The gentle, pleasant and always-smiling Mr. Yelchin plays Max, the manager of a Hollywood costume shop that specializes in Halloween merchandise. His dream of opening his own emporium of junk memorabilia called Max’s Scare Shack is thwarted by too little financing and too much romancing—with a girlfriend named Evelyn (Ashley Greene), a health nut who takes down his monster posters and only allows him to eat tofu. When Evelyn is run over and killed by a city bus, Max goes to seed. Just as his life is on the verge of turning into one endless Tim Burton movie, Evelyn honors her promise to be together forever, claws her way out of the cemetery, returns from the grave a zombie and Max’s life becomes more like Night of the Living Dead (replete with footage of the old movie itself).

Enter Olivia (Alexandra Daddario), who works in a theme-oriented ice cream parlor featuring such nauseous sounding flavors as Tombstone Toffee and Warlock Walnut. So Max embarks on a series of contrived efforts to kill Evelyn all over again and eat all the junk food he wants with Olivia.

Searching for ingenuous ways to get rid of her, he starts with three double absinthes. “Your funeral,” says the bartender. “Been there baby, done that,” smirks Evelyn. All she does is vomit embalming fluid. Then Max’s moronic, oversexed and overweight half-brother Travis (Oliver Cooper) arrives with a machete to behead her, but he loses his brains—in more ways than one. Now we have two zombies for the price of one. The greener they get with rotting skin and bulging eyes, the farther the movie sinks in the direction of late-night cablevision, while Max slides between crime scenes on a skateboard. Jonathan Hall’s garish cinematography makes the whole movie look like a psychedelic mortuary. The screenplay, by Alan Trezza, is deadly, no pun intended.

The only survivor of this fiasco with his talent intact, if not his dignity, is Anton Yelchin, a veteran of the Star Trek franchise. Nimble and charismatic with an intelligent face that is ill suited for this kind of idiocy, he deserves a more respectable fate than a Joe Dante popcorn movie, and maybe a new agent. His last film, 5 to 7, was awful. This one is even worse. ‘Burying the Ex’ Is Dead on Arrival