[Panic Fest] BURY THE BRIDE Review – The Hunters, the Wolves, and the Dangers of Falling in Love
Men are natural hunters, often predators versus prey. To survive, women must become wolves. This relationship between men and women is the striking thesis of director and co-writer Spider One and writer Krsy Fox’s new feature-length slasher, Bury The Bride. With its well-balanced pacing, intriguing narrative, surprises, and well-built tension, the film thrills.
The film follows bride-to-be June Hamilton (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her friends traveling to the middle of nowhere for her bachelorette party. The girls don’t know that June invited her fiancé David (Dylan Rourke) and his friends. We soon realize that June’s sister Sadie (Fox) and their friends don’t know much about David except for his missing tooth and rugged, masculine scent. If those two tidbits weren’t already questionable, the fact that David doesn’t have any social media is the final nail in his coffin, according to June’s friends. However, it soon becomes obvious that it doesn’t matter how questionable June’s future husband is –– she is head over heels, and nothing will change her mind.
When David and his friends Puppy (Chaz Bono), Mike (Adam Marcinowski), and Bobby (Cameron Cowperthwaite) finally arrive, the motley crew show up with beers and shotguns, bringing a tension that everyone but June and party-happy Carmen (Lyndsi LaRose) queue into. The film rapidly escalates its run-of-the-mill problematic cis-male behavior, evolving into a murderous bloodbath.
Bury The Bride is a simple slasher with a seemingly straightforward premise hiding much beneath its surface. It may appear typical of the slasher sub-genre, evoking similar motifs of dating and marriage gone wrong reminiscent of Ready or Not (2019) and Fresh (2022). However, like those films, it establishes its tone quite clearly. While it doesn’t retain the same comedic appeal, it still stands apart. The filmmakers ask us how far we’ll go for our loved ones while warning audiences about the dangers of falling for the wrong person.
[Read] [Interview] A Conversation with Bury The Bride Co-Writer and Star, Krsy Fox
The film clearly means a lot to the crew. Everything from the costume design, where each piece thoughtfully represents the character wearing it, to the thrilling beats of the electric score, reflects their hard work and passion. Its sincerest strengths and weaknesses lie in its characters and performances, while the simple plot works because it is intensely character driven.
The dynamics between characters, especially Sadie and June, propel the plot forward and raise the stakes. The pain and conflict between the sisters drive us to care about them. The other characters are relatable, memorable, or likable enough. We can’t help but fear for them when placed in dangerous situations. LaRose’s Carmen, in particular, stands out for her fun-loving, reckless nature. She’s our Tatum Riley, and we can’t help but adore her for it. Bono, as the mostly-mute Puppy, is commendable. His soulful, appropriately named puppy-dog eyes hide a pathetic hunger that most wouldn’t expect.
Taylor-Compton’s portrayal of June falls somewhat flat in comparison. June is perhaps the most unlikable of the characters –– she endangers her friends multiple times throughout the film and refuses to see clearly. Even when the evidence is presented to her. A divisive role like this calls for nuance, and it is unfortunate that it instead reads as shallow and frustrating.
Bury The Bride is not an incredibly thought-provoking or existential film, but its unexpected and surprising twists are exciting. Despite its shortcomings, the film maintains a consistent level of intrigue, with smooth pacing that allows audiences to invest in the narrative and its well-built tension. The writers aren’t reinventing the wheel with regard to slashers, but they are making it more interesting.