Friday, October 17, 2014

From The Corner: Buried

After having watched, "Frozen", I was almost hesitant to sit through another minimal location/minimal casting/minimal title thriller... but I'm glad I did.

Paul wakes up to find himself buried alive in a coffin.  All he has is a Zippo lighter, and a Blackberry phone. As time and air runs out, he maintain his sanity, and deal with the demands of those that placed him there... otherwise the coffin will be his final resting place...

Director Rodrigo Cortes filmed "Buried" in seventeen days, and cites Alfred Hitchcock as a major influence on the film.

I enjoy watching single location horror/thriller movies because I'm always interested in seeing how the director will handle it.  It's not easy making a single location constantly interesting, but director Rodrigo Cortes manages to do so with the simple coffin in this movie.  He uses interesting camera angles, lighting styles, and even darkness to break up what could be a very monotonous looking location.  The green colour of the glow sticks, the blue glow of the Blackberry, and the normal light of the Zippo lighter help to create a great sense of isolation and claustrophobia.  The tightness of the coffin is further enhanced by the tightness of the camera shots.  I was very impressed by the camera work.

Most movies would've shown the actions of those trying to rescue Paul as well.  Using a single actor for the entire movie was a bold move- and effective.  By staying with the character, you're left to imagine and wonder what was going on outside the confines of his prison.  Limiting our perception of the world to just the coffin, we're forced to focus on the character and share in his own worries that nobody was coming.  At the same time, by allowing limited verbal communication with others, the story is kept from getting bogged down and helps to add new elements and even develop Paul's character even more.

The premise itself is pretty simple, but very effective.  By limiting the location, cast, and props, this story stays lean and focused.  There is little to tempt a director into adding "flash" to the movie, which actually made "Buried" more enjoyable for me to watch.  The story evolves, and even helps to keep the location interesting by changing it into something more dangerous over time.

I felt that Ryan Reynolds did a fantastic job as Paul.  He managed to make Paul an interesting person, and I came to be concerned about his survival.  It had to be hard to rely on your voice, and facial expressions to tell your characters story in such a confined space.  I wouldn't be surprised if Reynolds had some trepidation during the scenes where the sand was slowly filling the coffin.  The faceless voices on the Blackberry were also well done, though I'll confess that I had some problems understanding what the kidnapper was saying at times.

Overall, I found "Buried" to be a suspenseful, tightly written story that kept me interested from beginning to end.  I cared about the main character, and was emotionally involved in the events taking place.  This is definately a movie that I would rate as one of  The Good.

Follow Mike S @TerrorCorner

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