Box art for Buried



Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), truck driver and family man, wakes up buried alive in an old wooden coffin. Not knowing who might have put him there or why, his only chance to escape from this nightmare is a mysterious cell phone.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5

Intense buried-alive thriller may be too grueling for most.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Buried is a very intense thriller that takes place entirely within a coffin buried under the sand. Considering that most people have an innate fear of being buried alive, the movie can be nearly excruciating to watch -- although it's very well made. The main character (played by Ryan Reynolds) has a lighter, a cell phone, and some other supplies, but he's the only person shown on screen. Expect some intense behavior and strong language (including many uses of "f--k"). Brave older teens and grown-ups may be intrigued, but be ready for nightmares.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the psychological horror in this movie. Does it have more or less impact than gorier horror films? Why?
  • Is this movie scary? What's the difference between this kind of terror and something more supernatural?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 29
    see all Buried reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The film's chief virtue is that it remains true to itself - there are no sly cutaways to phones ringing in empty apartments or flashbacks to happier times, just Reynolds stuck underground and hoping for rescue.

- Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Lionsgate snatched up the picture at Sundance and there's no doubt everyone behind this minimalist stunt will make their money back from those curious to see how well they pulled off the feat. (Answer: reasonably.)

- Amy Nicholson, Boxoffice Magazine, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rotten: As a cautionary tale about the perils of nation building, this is both creepy and provocative, but director Rodrigo Corts blows it in the last few minutes with a rushed ending that feels like a cheat after all the escalating tension.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, Thursday, September 23, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

This is one intense movie. Like Paul Conroy, the film never lets you out of the buried box - that's where the film in its entirety takes place. It's really quite remarkable that it never gets boring or stagnant. I don't think I have ever seen a movie that has limited itself more severely in what it puts onscreen. You only see one character. You only see a single setting. As small as Joel Schumacher's Phonebooth was, imagine if he blacked out all the walls and zoomed in even more. And of course, Ryan Reynolds remind us all why we love him. He not only has to craft his own vital character, but that character has to anchor every other character in the film as well. Since the other characters in the movie exist only as voices on the other end of a cellphone, so the exchange rests disproportionately on Conroy's end. Reynolds succeeds at his task with flying colours. The dialogue in this movie is terrific, and the story is elegant in its simplicity. The movie is really gritty, and I wish the music were a little less in-your-face, but I think the close focus on the buried box reinforces the isolation inherent in the story. This was really something.

- MidnightMadwoman, Monday, November 8, 2010

4 stars

"I need one million dollars by nine o'clock tonight or I'll be left to die in this coffin!" Paul is a U.S. contractor working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it's a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap. REVIEW If your initial reaction to hearing that Buried is set solely in a coffin - there's no flashbacks, no dream sequences, nothing except what happens inside that box - is that a whole film can't sustain the thrills and chills with such limited setting, well, you're wrong. Once the Hitchcock-esquire credit sequence has drawn to a close, the inventive screenplay by Chris Sparling, dedicated acting by Ryan Reynolds and impressive direction from Rodrigo Cortes combine to ensure Buried remains gripping to the very end. Cortes grinds away at your nerves with an ingenious array of lighting techniques, sound design and camera tricks. The flickering orange glare of the zippo lighter is enough to see everything at the forefront, but cunningly generates ominous shadows in the process. A minor creak in the woodwork emphasises the frailty of Paul's situation to devastating effect; the earth packed above could cause the coffin lid to cave in at any moment and every creak could be the last. Inspired tracking shots demonstrate how isolated Paul is from the rest of the world whilst accentuating his claustrophobic situation. With the whole film having a budget of only $3m - far less than Reynolds' usual salary alone - the Canadian actor must have been blown away by the script when deciding to accept the job. He throws himself into the role with admirable gusto, creating a character we want to go on this roller-coaster ride with. Granted, he can't do much physically other than what the narrative demands, however by injecting a bit of nervous humour here and there and allowing his emotions to run their natural course, Reynolds instills Paul with a genuineness that makes it extremely easy to relate with. Kudos to Cortes for attempting something different and to Reynolds for seeing the potential.

- mrpopcorn, Saturday, October 30, 2010

4 stars

A claustrophobic film sparing no room to breath. You'll gasp, gripping tightly to your seat hoping for a moment of fresh release only to discover your exit awaits long after the credits are over. Buried is not to be confused with a horror film in the sense where logic and reason are tossed through the window in replacement of a man in a hockey mask hacking his way through Camp Blood, or even on a more serious note where extrasensory perception haunts a hapless young boy traumatized by the surroundings of the undead. Buried is a thriller, but it's as truly horrifying as a thriller can get. That being said, labeling this a "horror film" wouldn't be much of a stretch. It is indeed a frightening experience, one not easily shaken. The whole film takes place in box-like coffin buried underground with one lead character throughout the whole film. Actor Ryan Reynolds is that character. His name is Paul Conroy. Paul awakens in a coffin some feet underground with nothing but a zippo lighter, a dying flashlight, and a cell phone. How he gets there is quickly made known to us, there are no mysterys or anything out of the ordinary - meaning nothing we wouldn't expect to happen in a hostage situation such as this. The movie takes place here. Literally. The whole movie is in a coffin. Conroy's world is in a box. And you're right inside there with him. But any means of escape seem less likely as time goes by and his captors demands unfortunately fall through in measuring up as "we do NOT negotiate with terrorists". And as for me - as well as Paul Conroy who agreeably sides with these domestic fundamental principles - all there's left to do is sit tight and surmise of a prior, peaceful world that Conroy once was a part of, with a family of course and enough love to guide him through the shit storm he now resides in...with fear on the surface one hopes he left with warmth in his heart. It's a heart shattering train wreck that you better be prepared for. It's a story of courage, hope, and tragedy (some even cold hearted - on both sides of the fence) human moralities. No lesson new is to be learned here, but some should never be forgotten. Ryan Reynolds was never a favorite actor of mine. I did however see great potential in him for his maniacal role in The Amityville Horror remake (although the film itself wasn't too great - he definitely shined). Personally I think he should stick to more serious roles than the comedies because he is one GREAT performer. It's too bad the cinematography was only mediocre, but given it's darkened and confined surroundings I suppose lightening limitations were a bit restricted. The problem with that was the lack of Reynolds facial features. Either it was too dim to fully read his expressions or it was the lack of space that inhibited his body language to speak and made it difficult to understand some emotion. Don't get me wrong, IT WAS THERE, but being in such a small space it got lost in some corners. Of course with a higher share of physical mobility there'd be more of an emotional understanding - even more so than the tight angle on the character's face. But for what it's worth we get a heck of a performance. In fact (if one would base most judgment on vocal performance alone) we might have an Oscar nominee here. Ryan Reynolds delivers and then some. His best performance by far. Hold your breath and be patient. This frightening movie has much to say about the true horrors in our world today. Now take another deep breath and see this film as soon as you can. Just don't hold it for too long....You might run out of breath. Highly Recommended!

- creepfreak, Thursday, October 14, 2010