If you were a child or an adult horror fan of the 1980’s to early 1990’s, then chances are somewhere along the way you watched or heard of a movie directed by Joe Dante. The movie-maker is perhaps best known as the one who directed perhaps one of the greatest borderline kid-friendly horror/comedy movies in Gremlins in 1984 (as well as its 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch), but his roster of work also includes cult-classic films Innerspace, The Howling and Pirana. The unique aspect about Dante films is his ability to walk the line with humor versus the most frightening aspects of horror and make it work upon such a wide range of viewership ages.
Although he has made other films not bound to the horror genre, the director is seemingly at his best when he does incorporate those elements into his movies. But since the turn of the century, Dante’s presence as a feature film director has waned since his heyday and he has often landed behind-the-camera for notable television projects, directing episodes for Hawaii Five-O, Masters Of Horror, Splatter and most recently the superhero-hit Legends Of Tomorrow. But on February 16th, 2015, Dante is featured once again upon a notable full-length comedy/horror film released on Blu-ray by Anchor Bay Canada known as Burying The Ex (his first film since 2009’s rarely seen The Hole).
Ex stars Anton Yelchin (Odd Thomas, Star Trek) as Max; a horror movie fan involved in a one-sided relationship with his domineering, beautiful and going-green loving girlfriend Evelyn (Twilight’s Ashley Greene). After Max meets a more kindred spirit in Olivia (San Andreas’ Alexandra Daddario), he realizes that the time has come to break up with Evelyn and move on to someone who fits him better. Right on the cusp of Max breaking the news to her, Evelyn is killed tragic accident before the deed is done and through a little special object magic (right up there with Tom Hanks’ experience in Big) Evelyn rises from the grave as a zombie; bent on turning Max so they can be together forever (which certainly threats his budding relationship with Olivia).
So yes, Burying The Ex is certainly a ridiculous movie (the title itself exudes that notion) but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not fun in some way. Much like Anchor Bay Canada’s release A Little Bit Zombie, Ex is simplistically and shamefully amusing in some of the ways that made Dante’s biggest hits so memorable over the course of decades. Now while Ex certainly will never reach those heights of remembrance, it is fairly watchable and funny over-all. Anton Yelchin is fast becoming a quirky lead for independent horror films and his straight-man Max character really enhances the zaniness of Ashely Greene’s performance as Evelyn (the actress really embraces what the role requires, so kudos to her). Greene’s zombie make-up work is also very impressive as she decays more and more.
This zombie-com piece arrives to Blu-ray with an Anamorphic Widescreen presenation and a 2,40:1 aspect ratio. The picture quality is very strong for a high-definition image. Burying The Ex is full of vibrant and various colors, which really pop to the eye (and the blood certainly seems the right crimson). Details and skin tones are very nicely fleshed out and Ex has an excellent amount of clarity. Adding to Ex’s strong technical presentation is powerful and crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The movie is very dialogue driven, but when the sounds kick in you will notice the difference. Sadly, there is no special features on the disc.
Burying The Ex is certainly no masterpiece and not necessarily one of Joe Dante’s strongest films made, but based on the title one should know exactly what they are in for with this kind of zombie comedy. With that said, Ex definitely has its amusing qualities and worthwhile funny elements that walk on the dark side. The Blu-ray is delivered with a very admirable technical transfer but fans of Dante or the film will be disappointed with the lack of features. The Blu-ray is an example of why streaming in HD is gaining ground in the industry, as the only difference hard copies are going to provide going forward are supplemental material not found anywhere else.