BURYING THE EX *** USA 2014 Dir: Joe Dante. 87 mins

Joe Dante’s first movie since the wonderfully retro-styled adolescent ghost story THE HOLE is, itself, a horror comedy infused with the spirit of 80’s splatstick movies. Horror fan Aaron Yelchin is hectored endlessly by his domineering girlfriend (Ashley Greene) and secretly develops a crush on the sweet kindred spirit (Alexandra Daddario) who works at the local ice cream parlour.
When Greene is fatally hit by a bus, he takes the opportunity to romance the girl who shares his love of Val Lewton double bills, but thanks to a “Satan Genie”, Greene returns from the grave, more intrusive than ever before. Somewhat beaten to the punch by a bunch of other my-loved-one-is-a-zombie movies (including LIFE AFTER BETH and MAGGIE), this appealing movie has scores of genre references typical of Dante’s work : clips from THE GORE GORE GIRLS and THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA, vintage horror posters in the background of almost every scene, a removal firm named “Romero And Sons”. It also has the expected Dick Miller cameo, essaying a characteristic Dick Miller role as “Crusty old cop” (“Goddam meth heads!”). The three stars are fine: Yelchin has an easygoing appeal while Daddario shows spirit as the ultimate horror geek’s wet dream – a hot buxom girl who loves ice cream, horror movies and sex. Unsurprisingly, it downplays the yukkiness of an annoying undead ex eager to shag her estranged partner while suffering from an awkwardly shoe-horned soundtrack and a feeble Nick Frost-inspired schlubby supporting character. Still, it’s always good to see Dante active, and the movie, while far from his best, is a pleasant, nippy watch.

Review by Steven West

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