Flapjacks and Babies

Imagine Green Acres if Eva Gabor took her penthouse view seriously, enough to kill Eddie Albert and escape; that’s Buried Alive, staging a sour marriage between Jennifer Jason Leigh’s city-loving wife and Tim Matheson’s blue collar, house-building contractor husband. It’s a war of lifestyles, the pair dueling over wealth and happiness. Turns out money can’t win.

It’s a fun take on differing lifestyles, coming out of the 1980’s excess and the people those circumstances created. Matheson sees value in work, isolation, and honest living; Leigh’s wants stem from luxury, and there’s a sense – overplayed and overwritten as it is – she wasn’t always like this, and Leigh’s a delight. Her character is sadistic, moral-less, and absolutely awful. Paired with William Atherton as the man replacing her murdered husband, the pair enter their own duel as greed envelops them.

Buried Alive’s preposterous ending succeeds, staging less a revenge murder saga than one based in those themes

Buried Alive is frequently ridiculous, and creative as the rat maze finale looks, it’s more metaphor than plausible. Matheson uses his handy work to barricade Leigh and Atherton, seeking revenge for their failed murder attempt (and profiteering from his death), forcing them to confront each other in cramped quarters.

Luckily, the absurdities benefit from a self-aware tone, leaning on camp for comic energy. After Matheson breaks free from a shoddy coffin, the unaware sheriff laments Matheson’s loss stating, “He was happiest picking splinters out of his fingers.” This, as Matheson’s shredder hands bleed out from his escape. Little comical digs soften the tone, which is otherwise mercilessly cruel, turning Leigh ruthless as she fires a shotgun at the family dog (missing the shot, but she’s gleeful afterward anyway).

The story laments losing the working man’s status. The heroes, Matheson and sheriff Hoyt Axton, share life’s simple hobbies. Then Leigh and Atheron, both bogus in their wealth, putting forth a public face of success. It’s why Buried Alive’s preposterous ending succeeds, staging less a revenge murder saga than one based in those themes.

Matheson finds purpose in wood, nails, and a hammer. The clueless duo stuck between the handyman special only have their clothes and a suitcase full of cash. They don’t even have the sense to escape a basement window, incapable of solving the problem despite numerous solutions around them. A plot hole, or more likely, a smart, acute criticism of those expecting everyone else to provide answers for them.


This is ridiculous – in the best way. Defining “eye-popping color” through intense saturation, Buried Alive is a beast. Density and boldness defy any expectations stemming from the made-for-TV roots. Every hue glows, only slightly richer than reality, still preserving flesh tones naturally. Leigh’s lipstick and fingernail polish display incredible vibrancy.

Equally awesome contrast and depth help further this reference tier master. It’s bright and thick in black levels. Dimensionality proves impeccable, gorgeously balanced on both ends, and never reaching overactive extremes.

Flawless grain preserves the source film stock, and hardly any damage impedes the imagery. Fidelity sticks out in droves, the facial definition flawless. Equally so, environments keep showing off the exquisite resolution. Every scene produces natural, unfiltered sharpness.


Full DTS-HD brings some depth to the simple audio. Precise highs and mild low-end extensions give some life to this track. Stereo effects play around where the score is involved but nowhere else.

Overall fidelity brings fine crispness and clarity, age slightly detectable, but only slightly.


Commentary comes via journalist Bryan Reesman. Afterward, there’s a seven-minute interview with William Atherton as he recalls the film. A few trailers follow.

Buried Alive
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


At times comical, campy, and absurd, Buried Alive still cleverly finds a sharp metaphor for a changing social dynamic.

User Review
0 (0 votes)

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 29 Buried Alive screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 120,000+ already in our library), 120 exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, subscribe on Patreon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *