If you've got a lawyer you might want get them on the phone because there's every chance you're going to want to take legal action after what I'm about to say...
I like Ryan Reynolds. Always have.
There, I said it. So, you know, sue me.
Ever since Reynolds made Two Guys A Girl And A Pizza Place the moderate success it was rather than the flop it deserved to be, he has been the shining light in a number of sub-standard projects. He's proven his comedic ability in movies like Van Wilder: Party Liason and his dramatic ability in movies like The Amityville Horror. Now, don't get me wrong, neither of those movies are terribly good, but Reynolds was good in them. With the possible exception of The Nines, the only thing Reynolds hasn't quite managed to do is get on board a project really worthy of his talents. Until now…
Buried starts in total darkness, where we can only hear muffled and increasingly distressed breathing sounds. Eventually a flicker of light, from a Zippo lighter, illuminates the face of Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) a truck driver working in Iraq who, we quickly learn, was ambushed by some Iraqis knocked unconscious and buried alive in a coffin somewhere.
For reasons that become apparent later, there's a working mobile phone in the coffin with Conroy, left by his abductors. Conroy uses the phone to try to call for help, but is continually frustrated by government bureaucrats who don't take him seriously or the voice mail messages of people who don't answer. Obviously with limited phone battery life and, more importantly, limited oxygen, he becomes increasingly anxious about his dire predicament.
Buried completely subverts the Horror genre by featuring a mobile phone that actually works.
Most people that are aware of this movie are aware of the fact that the whole thing takes place inside a coffin. It sounds like a gimmick, and maybe it was conceived as a gimmick, but it certainly doesn't play that way. Never seeing what's happening outside the coffin makes Conroy's plight all the more compelling, and his horrific story all the more immediate. And despite the confines of such a small physical space, Rodrigo Cortes’ creative direction never lets the proceedings feel static.
You virtually never get any respite from the claustrophobia Conroy is feeling because you're effectively trapped right along with him. I watch Buried in my darkened home theatre and I was literally squirming in my seat, subconsciously (I guess), trying to escape from the confines of Conroy's coffin. It's uncomfortable to watch, but in the best possible way.
The film isn't just a riveting suspense story; it also has a bit to say about our occupation of Iraq, western bureaucracies, heartless corporations, and the impure motives of some "freedom fighters". But it never becomes didactic. It's all there to serve the story, and it all rings true.
Buried is really the best kind of horror movie: a film so good that no one wants to label it a "horror movie" and saddle it with the baggage of so many other inferior movies. But make no mistake, this is a horror movie in the truest sense of the word, and thanks to its clever script, creative direction and customarily excellent central performance by Mr Reynolds, it's the best one I’ve seen for a long time.