NOVEMBER 2, 2007
At Screamfest, I had the not very pleasurable experience of watching Robert Kurtzman’s The Rage, a movie that should have been fun but was hampered by atrocious acting, astonishingly bad digital video, and terrible effects. Now we have a sort of polar opposite with Buried Alive. This time, the acting’s still bad, but the film looks great (actual film helps), the production value is good (albeit with some extremely poor sync sound effects), and the effects are pretty impressive. But the script is devoid of anything even approaching fun. One wishes Kurtzman applied his resources to The Rage, and left this piece of crap forever buried (it’s not a pun unless I capitalize “buried”!).
Much like yesterday’s Slashed Dreams, a big part of the problem is that NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENS in it. We have ONE kill in the first hour, and it’s a almost bloodless gag, one that was done infinitely better in Wrong Turn 2 (axe down the middle) to boot. Christ, with only 15 minutes to go (including credits), the three main characters are still unaware that they are in any danger! Granted, this isn’t a necessity (you can almost say the same for Halloween), but the difference is that there’s no suspense or interesting story to keep your attention.
The back of the DVD is borderline offensive with its blatant false advertising. “A night of extreme truth or dare and wild partying gives way to sheer fright...” No one plays truth or dare, the ‘partying’ is pretty much limited to standing around drinking bottled beer, and sheer fright is kind of hard to come by when all of the horror elements occur in the film’s final 10-15 minutes. They also try to make it sound like Kurtzman directed From Dusk Til Dawn, when all he did was come up with the basic story and work on the effects along with the other KNB guys (who, no offense to Kurtzman, have done their best work in the past couple years, after “K” left to make movies like this. Bad choice dude!). “Packed with sex, shocks, and supernatural horror!” - One PG-13 sex scene and maybe 5 minutes of bland and forgettable horror scenes is hardly what I call packed.
And the characters are a largely unlikable lot – two stoner dudes, three airheads (though one gets smart like halfway through the movie for some reason), and a little nerdy dude who ends almost every sentence by saying the last word twice. “Hey guys guys.” “Where are we going going?” Etc. Sounds fun, right? Christ. In lieu of horror/suspense, Kurtzman and writer Art Monterastelli assume that an audience will have more fun watching a bitchy girl force two sorority pledges to walk like robots, stand on their heads, etc. Shockingly enough, they are completely wrong.
I should note that the ending is KIND OF a downer. Does it count as a downer if the two people we’re supposed to like/root for (but we don’t) die in a pointless scene that doesn’t really pay anything off? Sure, why not. Let’s give the movie something.
The only thing of any note about the entire film is that the two main characters are cousins who apparently never got instructed that kissing each other (at one point, right in front of her barely interested boyfriend) is kind of weird. The film even begins with a dream sequence in which they more or less make out, and then he drowns her in the tub, which ends up being just another thing that never pays off, at least that I could tell.
And poor Tobin Bell shows up. Granted, the guy’s not exactly Olivier, but whenever he shares a scene with these stiffs, it makes them look all that much worse. At least he seems to be having fun, what with his gold teeth and bandana. Like all good cameos, he more or less drifts in and out of the film at random, pulling pranks that don’t seem to make any sense once you learn he’s not the bad guy. But whatever.
Like the execrable Broken, this one comes from Dimension Extreme, a new DTV label from the worst studio in existence. I’d say they were a total failure, but three of their upcoming releases (Automaton Transfusion, Storm Warning, and Inside) are among the best of their respective subgenres of the past few years. Hopefully they’ll come sooner rather than later, before the already woeful name is completely sullied by this type of crap.
What say you?