Director: Rodrigo Cortes
Cast: Ryan Reynolds
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Minimalistic horror seems to be a thing now. A few years back there was Open Water with a couple stranded in the ocean. Last year there was Frozen that had three people stuck on a ski lift. Now there’s Buried and it has one guy, in a box, for an hour and a half.
Now no matter how good or bad this movie is, one thing cannot be argued; it’s a movie about one guy, in a box, for an hour and a half. If that doesn’t sound thrilling to you then go ahead and stop reading. But if you’re up for something a little different and want to see an actor give it his all to try to keep a film going for 90 minutes while lying in a small, dark box, then this may be the movie for you.
Ryan Reynolds does a good job playing Paul, a contractor who drives a truck in Iraq. One day his convoy is attacked and he is buried alive with a lighter and a cellphone. His abductors want a million dollars or they will leave him to die. His employers only seem interested in covering their own butts. Everyone he calls is either not home or they have a hard time believing what has happened to him. The story boils down (very quickly) to Paul talking to various people on the phone and trying to get out of his early grave.
Sure there is a bit more to it than that.
There’s something about the terrorists wanting Paul to make his own ransom video with the cellphone, and one of his female coworkers also being abducted, and then the friendly little snake that crawls into his coffin to say hello. But those almost seem to be distractions to increase the runtime of the film to feature length than anything of real substance. There is a nice bit of drama as the coffin Paul is in begins to crack and the sand begins to pour in, threatening to cut short what little time he has left.
Ultimately what’s going to make or break this one man show is, obviously, that one man. Luckily Mr. Reynolds is on top of his game here. He runs the emotional gambit from scared to furious and from sad to what he does best: being sarcastically funny. I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Ryan Reynolds and this movie goes a long way to further cement that appreciation. That also means that I can easily say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the actors in this movie. I can’t think of too many films where I said that.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack by Lionsgate is as sparse on extras as the film is on cast. There’s a documentary and a couple of trailers and that’s it. That’s kind of disappointing, but then like I’ve said, this is a movie about one guy locked in little box, so I kind of expected the minimalistic approach. Also the picture quality can only be so good when the cinematography is mostly limited to close ups in the dark.
Buried will not be a film for everyone, especially with today’s A.D.D. generation of movie watchers. However, it is a good movie and if you like plausible horrors as opposed to supernatural ones then this is the terror flick for you. Sadly it doesn’t get more real than some evil bastards stuffing a guy in a box to make a point and this film spotlights that kind of terror very effectively.