I really would have liked to like Dead & Buried more than I did, but it made it really, really hard. It’s not a terrible movie by any means, but it’s not anything special either. Let’s just say it’s no surprise it’s been all but forgotten.
The movie is about a small town whose residents have a taste for ritual group murder. They show up en masse, kill someone (and film/photograph it for posterity) and then a few days later that person appears as a new resident of the town. Well, it’s one growth strategy… Not everyone in town is in on the murdering, though. The sheriff seems mighty perplexed by all the dead people and does his best (which isn’t all that great, honestly) to figure out WTF is going on. So it’s a kind of a Twilight Zone-esque murder-mystery with zombies, basically.
Here’s the problem — the story is convoluted and shallow at the same time. It’s one of those movies with a story more concerned with fooling the audience than making any sort of consistent sense. That really hurts the movie. What also hurts it is the ridiculous, scenery-chewing overacting from most of the cast, and the wooden, emotionally flat performance from the rest. It’s not like the living are overacting and the dead are flat (or vice versa for that matter) either, it’s just bad acting. And in film as reliant on atmosphere, suspense and revelation as this one, the flaky story and bad acting pretty much sink it.
It does have a few things going for it that make me wish it was a better film. The atmosphere is good and visually it has a distinctive, washed-out look to it. There are a couple of good gore sequences, including a needle in the eye that would make Lucio Fulci smile. It’s got a bushel of recognizable character actors, including a very young Robert Englund. And there’s some brief gratuitous nudity! But those aren’t enough to save the movie.
The short of the day was Unsettled, a ridiculous pilgrims vs. zombies thing that was basically an excuse for a lot of cheap-ass gore sequences. I can’t find a copy of it online anywhere to post, but don’t worry you aren’t missing out on much. There’s little or no story, just a lot of bad pilgrim costumes and goofy-looking gore.