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Burying the Ex

Year: 2015
Production Co: Voltage Pictures
Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Alan Trezza
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario, Oliver Cooper

At one point a character says 'you've got a Tim Burton movie in your apartment', and all it does is remind you how much better an idea like this could have been in better hands.

But wait, I hear you protest, the director behind this film is none other than Corman and Spielberg protégé Joe Dante, one of the filmmakers who made the moviegoing childhoods of many of us born in the 1970s so memorable.

Exactly – as well as being a pretty good idea in search of a decent film it's a matter of how the mighty doth fall.

Anton Yelchin, insipid as he is in any of these straight to VOD efforts without the support infrastructure of the USS Enterprise behind him, plays everyday guy Max, working in a horror memorabilia store and with a seemingly devoted girlfriend in Evelyn (Ashley Greene), but she's really a controlling psycho he can't wait to get away from.

When he gets his chance and Evelyn is hit by a bus and put in her grave way before her time, he's eventually drawn out of his despair by his comic sidekick best friend Travis (Oliver Cooper) and the pretty girl who runs the malt store and loves horror and pop culture as much as he does, Olivia (Alexandra Daddario).

He starts to put some moves on an obviously-interested Olivia and things start looking up for Max when Evelyn comes back from the dead, digging herself out of her grave, smelling appropriately nasty and telling Max her death shouldn't be an impediment to their relationship.

Max wants to do the right thing by Evelyn, but he really likes Olivia, and thus a comic horror conundrum ensues.

The problem is there's not enough in the film that's scary, funny or original. The Tim Burton line makes you realise how much better it might have been with (boring though the creative relationship is) Johnny Depp as a snivelling nobleman set in 18th century New England. The contemporary setting just makes it all the more plain how flimsy the execution is.

And Dante handles all the other elements like a debut director enjoying his first deal with a bottom tier production company. The occasional gross moment (like when Evelyn throws up embalming fluid in Max's face) should be welcome, but they jar. The funny best friend is irritating, following in the footsteps of a thousand goofy sidekick archetypes done better, and Yelchin just doesn't have the comic chops or presence to hold a movie together.

The premise could have been interesting in a different film, but here it's just a waste of time.

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