A bachelorette party goes very wrong in this flawed but diverting horror.
Synopsis: Bride to be June’s bachelorette getaway turns deadly when her blood thirsty fiance and his friends show up to crash the party.
It would be fair to say that June’s (Scout Taylor-Compton) friends and her sister Sadie (Krsy Fox – also taking on writing and editing duties) do not see the appeal of her new fiance, David (Dylan Rourke). In fact, they are downright confused and more than a little hostile about her choice of partner, yet decide to put that aside to go to her bachelorette party. Soon, their evening is interrupted by David and soon, the situation becomes alarmingly clear.
Bury the Bride struggles with pacing, offering a blast of violence in the film’s opening and then slowing considerably to sit with the characters. This is successful to some degree, allowing the relationships between the group to bed in with lively conversations about favourite Spice Girls (complete with some Sporty Spice derision which, not going to lie, nearly lost me right out of the gate – surely she’s the best one?!). Still, it introduces an ebb and flow of tension and friendship that punctuates the film and everyone is delivering fun performances. There are knowing nods to horror conventions, including lines like ‘the hot one never dies first’.
It is a shame, then, that the knowledge of tropes doesn’t translate into boosting this into something more unique. There is some welcome play with the central mythology, which is appreciated and keeps it from being too by the numbers. However, there is a sense that the film believes it conceals the direction it is headed in more than it actually does, dropping too many hints too early on. Although, your mileage may vary on this and you may experience the film’s reveal very differently.
Fox and Taylor-Compton do much of the film’s emotional heavy lifting as the sisters at the heart of the film. Fox has a strong, stoic quality that meets Taylor-Compton’s softer manner as the lost June. Lyndsi LaRose does excellent work with Carmen, who could easily fall too far into stereotype if not for some considered writing and strong performance. The ensemble is rounded out by solid performances from Rachel Brunner and Katie Ryan.
Bury the Bride is in no rush and punctuates this with an elongated dance scene that cleverly marks the close of the film’s focus on building the characters and setting the scene into a greater intensity. Everything escalates, from the soundtrack to performances as the film unfolds. However, that tendency to overextend scenes does have an impact on the film, frequently falling into the trap of telegraphing the next move.
The groundwork in building tension and character relationships are strengths, as is an excellent final scene that does have an impact. However, it is difficult to escape the feeling that there is a shorter, sharper, more satisfying film to be found.
3 out of 5 stars
Bury the Bride screened as part of Salem Horror Festival 2023.