Now On Blu-ray: Cult Filmmakers Strike Back In BURYING THE EX And LOST SOUL
Read further for more details and thoughts on Joe Dante's Burying the Ex and David Gregory's Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau on Blu-ray.
Joe Dante is a filmmaker with deep roots in the cult and exploitation film arena. From his early days cutting trailers for Roger Corman productions in the 1970's through to his '80s successes with cult favorites The Howling, Gremlins and its insane sequel The New Batch, The 'Burbs, Innerspace, and more, Dante has mountains of street cred in the cult film world. However, it's been tough to get a Joe Dante feature produced for a few years, and before Burying the Ex, his last was 2009's unduly ignored childhood horror film The Hole.
With his new film, Joe Dante at least proves to his fans that he can make a movie his way, even if it doesn't reach the magnificent heights of his earlier work. I would compare Burying the Ex, a dark romantic comedy with voodoo zombies, to John Dies at the End, another idiosyncratic film made by a filmmaker (Don Coscarelli of Phantasm fame) for whom most had assumed his best work was in the past. I would also argue that these films are similar in terms of their relative success, though I'd put John Dies as a pretty clear winner, though not by a huge margin. Both are films made by men who have clear visions and modest budgets, and both did it their way, with respectable results.
Todd Brown reviewed Burying the Ex for the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, and was less impressed than I was, though he still found some joy:
A triumphant return for a beloved master or a sleepy reworking of now overly familiar tropes in a zombie movement that just won't die? Joe Dante's Burying The Ex is neither, really, the horror comedy showing plenty to say that the director of Gremlins and The Howling still has plenty left in the tank while also being undercut by a script too willing to go for the obvious gag without doing the sort of heavy lifting that would get an audience to really buy in in the first place.
I had fun with the film, though I do agree, there's not much tension in the film, and a lot of the gags are pretty well telegraphed. Still, Dante's sense of humor seems to be coming into fashion again, so let's hope this is the beginning of a strong comeback, not the end.
Image/RLJ's Blu-ray of Burying the Ex is, I should say, a Best Buy Exclusive in the USA. The DVD is in general release, but the Best Buy Blu-ray exclusivity is in place until October. That being said, the disc looks and sounds great. As with most any modern film shot digitally, there are no major distracting elements and I'm satisfied that this great looking disc is as good as we're going to get. On the downside, there is not a single extra, not even a trailer. This bums me out, since Dante is a very engaging speaker as proven through his other DVD extras and his work with Trailers From Hell. A shame.