Even if you have never been to a bachelorette party, you would still know traditional festivities don’t include a massacre. Yet without giving away the big surprise in Bury the Bride, this new film from filmmaker Spider One ends in a bloodbath. This brutal follow-up to the director’s arthouse-esque semi-anthology Allegoria is an unexpected pleasure, especially after anticipating a completely different kind of film. The good times, if you can even call them that, come to a quick end at this bridal shower when the wife-to-be and her bachelorettes receive a sudden guest.
Once ill-fated fiancée June (Scout Taylor-Compton) and her gal pals reach their remote destination, it becomes clear something bad is on the horizon. For starters, June is marrying some hick on the fly, and their love palace is more like a place where you go to die, not build a life together. This decrepit love nest is then filled with utter disharmony as June and her sister Sadie (Krsy Fox) argue ad nauseam, and the other women in attendance follow suit. This is definitely one of those films where the audience asks, “How are these people friends in the first place?”
The first act of this film is stuffed with detestable folks and uncomfortable interactions. We only see these characters’ most grating traits on screen before the actual horror commences. Nevertheless, once the pre-wedding vitriol is out of the way, Bury the Bride improves — a lot. Again, it is difficult to discuss this film without spoilers, but Spider One and co-writer Krys Fox achieve what is no small feat when they finally flip the switch. In small yet potent bursts, the story answers that uneasy feeling from early on in the best way imaginable.
One character has to abandon her logic and total sense of self-preservation in order for the real party to get started. You’ll roll your eyes for a minute there, but your patience will be rewarded. Once this silly but necessary scene is over with, the antagonist is given control of the story while their prey gradually react. The shock of this leftfield plot twist indeed wears off quickly, however the excitement and suspense never dies down. Bury the Bride knows how to keep the momentum going.
No one is spared here, and in one great moment, Bury the Bride takes a bold risk that other films may not be able to move past. It helps that the audience is kept at a distance so said decision isn’t too detrimental. Nevertheless there is a sizable impact that makes the subsequent events more gratifying.
Bury the Bride is at worst a caustic reunion pic tentatively hampered by its own characters’ underdeveloped interpersonal relationships. At best, and for the most part, it is a sanguinary slayfest with a mood so thick and severe that you need a knife to cut it. How the film transitions to horror is worth applauding, and the aftermath also doesn’t disappoint.
Bury the Bride screened at Salem Film Festival 2023 and it is now streaming on Tubi.
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