Buried Alive full movie review - I tried to think of a clever title for this review that would capture the essence of the movie... But all I came up with was "Meh"
This Dimension Extreme quickie follows a sextet of nubile college students on a road trip into the desert to drink beer, smoke pot, and canoodle at a house with a cursed past, and.
.. Well, if you've ever seen a horror film in your life, you could probably write the rest yourself, and chances are whatever you came up with would turn out better than this forgettable exercise.
Our cohort of future victims includes the largely unlikeable lead girl Rene, her lusty male cousin (with whom she shares a bizarre incestuous connection that includes exchanging passionate kisses with him), her impressively useless boyfriend, a duo of bubble-headed sorority pledges, and a computer geek thrown in for good measure. Buried Alive follows the "How To Make A Slasher Movie" guidebook to the letter, so the first third of the film is devoted to the mostly pointless development of characters we truly don't give a crap about, with a few false scares and a dab of nudity tacked on to try to stop you from ejecting the disc.
The ground rules are clearly established up front (one character is nice enough to inform us, via an intrusively placed bit of awkward dialogue, that the locale the horror is set to take place in has no landlines and no cell phone service), and our archetypes are reinforced through the sort of hijinks the genre has made you intimately familiar with by now. The nerdy tag-along is "tortured" into fessing up the film's back-story when the two co-eds team up to kiss, fondle, and disrobe him (poor guy), and our token blonde nymphette falls prey to one of the worst pick-up lines ever delivered (her wooer basically points out a piece of furniture that used to be in a brothel and suggests that they should "keep history alive," a seductive invitation which entices her to immediately strip and have sex with a character she met approximately three scenes before that).
Even by the standards of bargain basement horror, the goings-on here are especially senseless. Characters have bloody hallucinations for no apparent reason, then go about their business as if nothing has occurred (after the blonde sees her horrifying gore-soaked vision, her next line in the film is a perky, "Did you guys find food?"). The first victim gets axed after stepping outside to make a phone call, is missing for several hours before any of the other characters even note his absence, and his vertically bisected corpse is walked past by not one, but two different people without either of them noticing anything is amiss. And, best of all, a sorority gal who participates in juvenile initiation pledges that include running naked through the desert also conveniently possesses a wealth of information about the spiritual beliefs of Native American tribes and provides a scholarly lecture that explains the supernatural element in the film, all of which she correctly gleans from noticing a necklace someone is wearing in a century-old sepia photograph.
The film squanders the few opportunities it has to provide any real scares, and despite a few potentially chilling images, the homicidal phantasm is shown in full detail way too early on for any suspense to be generated on that front. Most of the gore gags aren't particularly novel either, which works directly against the classic splatter vibe it's apparent the film-makers were going for. Worse, Buried Alive is too tedious to fall into the "so bad it's good" category, so the rewards here are minimal at best.
The climax incorporates a few decent sequences that liven things up a bit, but after the slow road there something truly spectacular would be required to redeem this outing; that, we don't get. I do commend the screenwriter for toying with convention as it relates to who the lone survivor ends up being, but when the result is that this character flees the scene in the only means of escape and leaves their friends to suffer a ghastly fate, the finale becomes more puzzling than clever.
There are certainly worse ways to spend 90 minutes than this, but even at my most forgiving, I have to conclude that Buried Alive should probably have stayed that way.