Buried Alive (Robert Kurtzman, 2007)
Robert Kurtzman’s 2007 effort The Rage has garnered accolades from any number of people whom I otherwise believe to have some taste in film. I have never understood what they see in it. Buried Alive, his 2007 follow-up, has never received those same kudos. That made sense even before I saw this movie, but now, for some horrible reason, I have seen it, and the best thing I can say about it is “it’s not the worst movie I saw today.” (That dubious distinction goes to the dreadful Machine Gun Preacher). But if you’re looking for a decent horror movie, this is not the way to go.
Plot: cousins Rene (Going Down in La-La Land‘s Leah Rachel in her screen debut) and Zane (Green Street Hooligans‘ Terence Jay) attend the same college. Rene’s sorority has a couple of pledges to haze, and Zane, who’s on academic probation, is looking for an alternate means of living if he gets kicked out of school. Both of these things lead to the two of them packing a car full of young-and-beautifuls and heading out to the old ancestral pile, where grandpappy it a huge gold score a long time ago, much of which seems to have mysteriously vanished. Zane and his research assistant Phil (Here Comes the Boom‘s Germaine Scott Grimes) have come to the belief through scouring old newspaper clippings that grandpappy hid the rest of the gold somewhere on his property—a belief shared by eccentric old housekeeper Lester (Saw‘s Tobin Bell, whose taste in scripts continues to astonish), who’s been doing some digging in the basement when not practicing his taxidermy. They, and tagalongs Danny (Latter Days‘ Steve Sandvoss), Laura (Repo Men‘s Erin Reese), and Julie (Lindsey Scott in, to date, her only feature appearance), soon discover that what grandpa buried in the basement may not have been a precious metal…
And hey, here’s a surprise for anyone who’s seen The Rage, or come to think of it anyone who’s seen more than a half-dozen random DTV horror films made in the past quarter-century: nothing that happens in this movie is something you haven’t seen before. (I should note that the “surprise” in that last sentence was intended sarcastically.) This is about as standard a supernatural slasher film as supernatural slasher films come, to the point where you have most likely identified the Final Girl(TM) within five minutes of the movie starting. I gave it two stars because Art Monterastelli (Rambo)’s script does have a few genuine chuckles during the middle stretch—once they have gotten to the house, but before anything really starts happening, at the point where most movies of this strip drag like the killer’s victims on their way to the meatpacking plant—but those moments are not nearly enough to carry this movie. **