Roll up, roll up! Today’s special is a 2-4-1 on zombie girlfriends! The first of today’s double feature, and the first one I watched, was Burying the Ex. Anton Yelchin (who I really like), stars as a young man named Max who doesn’t really like his girlfriend. Evelyn is pretty but annoying as hell, restricts his diet to vegan food only, whines on endlessly about the environment and is less than supportive about his dream of opening his own shop. I think she’s kind of awful, but it’s just that she’s not really my kind of person. And I’m sure there are plenty of right on, vegan, extreme-green guys out there but Max isn’t one of them. They just aren’t compatible.
She dies before he has a chance to dump her, but this is the worst thing that could happen. Thanks to a spooky artefact delivered to his work, she doesn’t stay dead for long.
Burying the Ex (horrible title, right?) is more comedy than horror, but the subject makes the tone kind of difficult and I’m not sure they got it quite right. I’m not 100% comfortable about the dead girlfriend/live girlfriend love triangle and I wish that POTENTIAL MINOR SPOILER Max had just had the guts to dump Evelyn after the accident, and the fact he didn’t sort of made it hard to cheer him on. END SPOILER: But they’ve done something slightly different with the standard zombie theme so I’ll give ’em points for that. Yelchin is as good as ever and the supporting cast, including his prospective new girlfriend and his half-brother, does a good enough job.
Director Joe Dante has some real classics on his CV including The Howling, Gremilns and The ‘Burb’s, but unfortunately, this one isn’t up to that standard.
Another film, another undead girlfriend. Two days later Life After Beth landed on my doorstep, courtesy of Lovefilm. I had been looking forward to this before I saw all the negative rumblings, but I love zombie films and I really like Aubrey Plaza so decided to give it a go.
Aubrey Plaza stars as the titular Beth who, having died from a snake bite while out hiking, returns home, not realising she’s dead. At first her delighted (and delightful) parents try to keep her resurrection a secret but her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) soon finds out. Over the moon to have a second chance to say and do all the things he wishes he’d done when Beth was alive, he overlooks the little signs that Beth isn’t quite right. At first, anyway.
I really like Aubrey Plaza, and I thought she made an absolutely cracking zombie, especially when she totally lost her shit. DeHaan was good too, but I think he was outshone by Molly Shannon and John C. Reilly as Beth’s parents, and Matthew Gray Gubler in the much smaller role of Zach’s brother.
As with Burying the Ex, this one suffers from a slightly uneven tone which can sometimes be a bit off-putting. The comedy here, is more pronounced, and some of it does land. The problem for me though, was that Zach is kind of weedy and annoying, and I wasn’t quite sure why I was supposed to care about him. I also didn’t like the inclusion of a new love interest, I just didn’t think it was necessary. Damn it, why can’t these guys just break up with their zombie girlfriends before jumping into bed with the next woman with a pulse who waltzes past. Jeez.