Dead & Buried

Year: 1981

Synopsis: Tourists are murdered in a forgotten New England town. While the sheriff investigates, he learns horrors unfathomable.

Pros:
• A deceptively old-school horror film with well implemented tricks up its rotting sleeves.
• Underlying lingering dread fueled the slow burning narrative, as everything felt off throughout the film.
• The ultimate horror of a lack of control stays with the viewer, particularly in how the film questions reality like the Matrix (1999) or The Truman Show (1998). Questioning of free will also provided significant horror.
• The ultimate antagonist was amazing, especially in how he toys with the sheriff and viewer.
• The dark ending was reminiscent of the best Twilight Zone (1959- ) and Night Gallery (1969-1973) episodes.

Cons:
• Not for the faint of heart.
• Not built to transcend the typical horror audience, in spite of not really being a true genre piece.

Discussion:
What is going on!?

The entire film was filled with quickly seen clues to the nature of the town’s dark reality. These clues was largely laid out in ways that seemed like red herrings: dusty counters, unorthodox lectures to school children. But perhaps the most interesting element was on free will and what was retained after reanimation. The sheriff seemed to have free will, but subsequent viewings would suggest he was just in a changing maze he thought was solid. Or perhaps it was all a dramatic ploy for the villain to become like those he successfully reanimated. There was no way to know anything for sure. That is the true horror of a reality beyond our control.


Rotten Tomatoes — 75%

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