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I love horror movies, make no mistake. But it can be painfully hard to sit through a bad slasher film, even one directed by makeup artist extraordinaire Robert Kurtzman (The Green Mile, The House on Haunted Hill, From Dusk Till Dawn). Bad acting, bad story, bad music, clichéd characters, and bad writing make Buried Alive extra special. The plot goes something like this: A bunch of sexed up teens (and one nerd!) head up to a cabin in the desert for a weekend of drugs and partying. But there's a hidden secret in this cabin, something having to do with buried treasure and a living corpse of someone who was buried alive in some gold mining scam… hence the title. Opening with a girl in a bathtub, the film veers into borderline incest (kissing cousins, to be exact), sorority pledges, and Tobin Bell of Saw fame as a creepy old caretaker. This is moviemaking magic at its finest. The thing is, it's possible to use all these elements to create a good slasher movie that utilizes all the clichés wisely. It doesn't have to be self-reflexive like Scream, it can just be good old-fashioned suspense ala Friday the 13th. But Buried Alive fails on all counts. It takes way too long for the gore and killing to kick in, and when it does, it's not even that shocking or innovative. The nerd gets sliced in half with an axe, and there's an interesting sequence where the monster rises out of bloody bathtub water, but that's about it. The whole mess devolves into some kind of Scooby Doo plot as well as the teens are determined to figure out the mystery of just what went on at the cabin. And the shot of the moon with an eerie howl on the soundtrack could have certainly be left on the cutting room floor. Do yourself a favor; don't add this one to your Netflix queue.
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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