In the horror movie from 2010, Ryan Reynolds gets buried alive for a ransom in the vast desert of Iraq. In what seems to be a normal horror movie, we have to face some inconvenient truths about how much worth innocent lives actually are.
When the US truck driver Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), stationed in Iraq, wakes up, he finds himself in a wooden coffin with nothing more than a zippo and a smartphone. A call from the phone reveals that he has been kidnapped for ransom. His only way of communication soon leads him to the Hostage Rescue Group, his wife and his employer and the gruesome realization that being an American is no insurance for freedom.
Buried Alive: Claustrophobia and despair
In a Chamber Play, we spend almost two hours with Paul Conroy, experience the claustrophobic sense of helplessness and hear only the voices of the people that got him there or try to get him out. There is a sense of distrust by only hearing their voices and not seeing them that holds through for pretty much the entire movie and adds to the tension.
Director Rodrigo Cortés and script writer Chris Sparling did an incredible job at telling a story amidst the aftermaths of the Iraq war without involving it as we focus on the individual Paul Conroy alone and are forced through his personal hell.
It is especially impressive to not being able to do more than just watch, in contrast to thematically similar movies like „Phone Booth“, we can’t leave the prison and don’t get to see the other protagonists. They stay voices on a phone whom we can’t but have to trust and it becomes increasingly frustrating, how little the individual can do in a situation like this and how US agencies, employers, insurance agencies and obviously the kidnappers can take advantage of that.
The tragedy of human casualties
It’s a tour de force and not easy to watch but „Buried Alive“ has more than a creepy story, it has something to say and it doesn’t favor any side and therefore gives a rather bleak view on humanity but keeps it also alive in small gestures, even if it’s only an apology.
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Author: Chris Sparling
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Robert Paterson (voice), José Luis García Pérez (voice)
Music: Victor Reyes
Image: gerald pujol – Fotolia