Buried Alive comes bearing the new "Dimension Extreme" moniker, a new label being introduced by The Weinstein Company. It promises to provide "The most intense, edgy and provocative films on DVD" and will encompass horror, action, comedy, all manner of genre films. The early releases do not give any indication that quality or budget will be a focus as it includes a re-release of Dario Argento's classic Suspiria, the lame video game adaptation D.O.A.: Dead or Alive, and this little "gem" of a horror film. Whether or not its contents can be considered extreme is up for argument, but for my money it is anything but. Buried Alive is just another straight to video release that is destined to sit on the shelf, lonely and unwatched, for long stretches of time.
Make-up and special effects guru Robert Kurtzman steps behind the camera for the first time in a decade. His last film was Wishmaster. That outing was not a terribly good film either, but still had a goofy charm to it, much more so than this flick. Seeing both that last movie and this, it becomes clear that Kurtzman should stick to effects as that is where his real talents lie, as evidenced by his involvement in such productions as Bubba Ho-Tep, Identity, Ghosts of Mars, and Pulp Fiction.
Then there is the script by Art Monterastelli. Well, let's just say that there is a lot of talk, plenty of exposition, and not much to care about except for some goofy lines (including the expositional folk song played by one of the leads). His past work is mostly in the television realm including Total Recall 2070, TimeCop, and Nowhere Man.
By now, I am sure that you are all dying for some information about the movie itself. Let's move on, shall we?
Buried Alive tells the generic story of a group of generic kids who head off to a remote house for a weekend of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. At the center of the group are cousins Rene and Zane, who exhibit the signs of a very close family. The two of them have different reasons for wanting to hang out at the cabin. Rene brings a pair of sorority pledges with the hopes of giving them some scares and essentially bossing them around for a few days. Zane, on the other hand, did a little research into his family history with the help of Phil, the resident nerd who accompanies them. The research turns up a rumor of buried gold, left behind by their great-grandfather whose Native American first wife was buried alive because of the golden discovery. The vengeful wife placed a curse on the family that resulted in most of the family being gruesomely killed.
See where this is going? I am sure you do; anyone who has any experience with horror viewing knows exactly what is going on without me saying any more. What? You don't know? Okay, I will forgive you for playing along.
The gaggle of kids gets out to the house, with a brief stop to talk to the crazy caretaker, Lester (Saw's Tobin Bell who again demonstrates his super-serious whisper-voice). He offers up some sound advice about staying out of the basement and remaining indoors after dark. You never know what you're going to find.
Well, enough of this, who cares about the story? It's a pretty lame one anyway. The long and short of it is this: the wife who was buried alive haunts the home ready to take out any remaining family members, and anyone else who gets in the way (except for Lester for some reason). So, with Rene, Zane, and the rest in and around the house there are plenty for the old hag to hack up. Her weapon of choice? An axe. Odd choice for a Native American, but it does offer up some nice-looking slicing and dicing when killing time comes.
The death scenes, the gore effects, and super-serious Tobin Bell are the highlights. Despite the use of the word "highlights" in the prior sentence that is not to be taken as an indication of quality. Buried Alive is a boring movie that never goes anyone and never does much of anything. The acting by the kill fodder is awful and that script doesn't do them much good.
Bottom line. There are a couple of good-looking kills, some gore, some T&A, all the ingredients needed for a direct to video slasher flick. It's too bad that a little more effort wasn't put into the story, not even the acting; I can deal with bad acting if the story is decent. There are a couple of points where they try to inject a little Native American mythology, but nothing takes. The final result is a film that would best be left on the shelf.