Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A few college students and some hopeful fraternity pledges head up to an abandoned mine/burial ground area run by a friend of the family, an eccentric old caretaker named Lester. They go up there to party and initiate the pledges, and at the same time, Zane hopes to find some gold that he believes an ancestor has hidden away many years ago.
Is it good movie?
I can't say I really enjoyed this flick. It wasn't awful and I'm absolutely certain some people will love it, but it wasn't my cup of tea. My complaints are many: first of all, the main plot involves Zane (Terence Jay) and his f'n gorgeous cousin Rene (Leah Rachel), two cousins who are orchestrating this trip to this creepy location. Zane is a constant screw-up; he's been placed on academic probation and is an absolutely detestable jerk. He wants to find his family's gold somehow and never have to go to school again. Rene is a controlling vixen who bosses her two frat pledges around like nobody's business. She has a boyfriend on this trip as well, who is an absolute non-factor because it seems that she is in love with her cousin? That's right; the whole flick seems to center around these two kids as kissing cousins, for no real reason. Isn't that gross? It's never really explained but its' hinted at strongly from the bizarre opening scene.
The film's pacing and writing is also way off. The characters are so poorly written, it's amazing. They don't get scared when they should, and they're complete caricature stereotypes that just boggle the mind. I know that some people don't get bothered by that sort of thing, but these kids are just SO stupid. The second the kids begin their road trip to their destination, they immediately break out beer and ecstasy, Come on, there wouldn't be ONE cool head suggesting that would be a bad idea? There’s a 'nerd' character who is SUCH a nerd that I really thought he'd have something to do with the evil plot. He doesn't- and not only that (spoiler ahead), but he steps out for a moment and gets killed, and no one seems to care or look for him for HOURS, and he's cut right in half. A character even seems to walk right by him hours later and doesn't even notice him! The entire plot is explained by one of the pledges who seems to have suddenly developed an intellect after people start worrying. It has something to do with killing an innocent woman and a protective seal or something like that, either way it doesn't really matter. On top of that, the film's tagline is "Evil has awakened", and technically the "Evil" isn't really evil, but a scorned woman getting revenge on her vastly unlikeable ancestors.
There is a monster that starts offing people, but it takes FOREVER for that to start happening, aside from the nerd's death. Of course you suspect Jigsaw..er..Old Lester, but he soon gets the axe (literally) too. Tobin Bell's the best part of this movie by a longshot, adding some flair and having some fun with his character, and he just devours scenery, probably by accident considering what he's up against. Sometimes people can see the scary woman, sometimes they can't, and the way they act around her is ridiculous. It's clear she can warp, yet they slam doors on her. The whole thing is just intellectually draining from start to finish. During the last half an hour, there are some solid boo-scares, and the gore in this one is great too, done by Robert Kurtzman. But good gore does not a good film make by any stretch. The whole thing wraps up in a relatively satisfactory way, but that doesn't save the film either.
Video / Audio
Video looks great, presented in a 'matted' widescreen. It's crisp and clear and colourful and I liked it.
Audio is also encoded well, in Dolby 5.1.
Extras you say? Nada, Zip, Zilch. Not even a trailer.
If you like the kind of film where you find yourself wondering out loud why stupid people are making stupid decisions constantly, then Buried Alive is for you. I could see young teenagers or frat boys perhaps getting enjoyment out of this, but even for a teen flick it tends to be a little boring, with most of the good stuff happening at the end. There are boobs and there's blood, but sometimes that just isn't enough, even with a game Tobin Bell making an appearance.