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Overall Rating
2.56

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad77.78%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 3 user ratings


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I Bury the Living
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by Jack Sommersby

"Neat Ttitle; Negligent Movie"
2 stars

You can't really do yourself any harm in checking out an undemanding title like this, but even with lowered expectations it just doesn't do the job.

The 1958 I Bury the Living has such a fantastically ghoulish story premise in its favor that you just can't help being sincerely disappointed that the development of it just isn't better. A cross between Rod Sterling and Stephen King, it's a tale of a newly-appointed graveyard manager Robert Craft (Richard Boone), who quickly finds himself in quite the horrific situation that has to do with an elaborate map on the office wall that has both black and white pins in it, with the latter marking reserved sites for the undead and the former for the already-dead. After he accidentally uses black pins for a young couple who've just purchased two future plots for themselves, the next morning those same two people turn up dead of apparent natural causes. The same thing happens the next morning, to a single man, after another accidental mismarking. Craft relays his suspicions to his superiors but is quickly blown off with the explanation that simple, flat-out coincidence is the culprit, with the police intrigued but unable to find so much as a shred of evidence to indicate foul play. Meanwhile, he's having to deal with the displeased veteran caretaker who's being forced to retire and made to find a suitable replacement; and his relationship with his girlfriend is starting to strain over his insistent, bordering-on-obsessive belief that something supernatural is at play. Eventually, three men agree to have black pins stuck in their plot sites to prove him wrong, and I'd be the ultimate killjoy in spoiling the enusing results.

At a mere eighty minutes, the movie is at an appropriate length given its bare-bones plot, and the dialogue is more or less above par for the course. Regrettably, most of the imagery isn't as eerily suggestive as one would like, especially for a story centered in a cemetery (these might as well be condomenium plots in a Florida real-estate office); and the director, Albert Band, whose second feature this is, doesn't get enough suspenseful atmosphere going -- the set-ups are stagnant, and the scenes don't segue into one another in the deft manner needed to generate and sustain genuine tension. Also not helping matters much is the uncommunicative Boone, who's far from charismatic and doesn't emotionally draw you to him the way a leading actor should; he seems to be acting in a completely different genre, oblivious that he's our eyes and ears into ghoulish goings-on. Added to which, the final nail in the coffin (pardon the expression) is a real bust of a final conclusion and can be foreseen from a couple of zip codes away. (As usual, it's the seemingly-harmless character relegated mostly to the background who's the culprit behind it all.) Overall, a nice try but no reason to bypass one of those Serling Night Gallery episodes, which got right what I Bury the Living gets wrong in nearly one-third the running time.

The DVD offers up a soild picture though the blacks aren't as glossy as one would like, and only a theatrical trailer is included as an extra -- boo-rah.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=21636&reviewer=327
originally posted: 09/09/10 06:32:33
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User Comments

7/12/17 Dar De Garlais Loved the movie. Mr. Boone is fab, as always. 5 stars
2/13/15 PAUL SHORTT SILLY, SLOPPY AND UNCONVINCING 2 stars
11/08/10 Charles Tatum Liked it more than Jack, but the ending brings down the flick 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jul-1958 (NR)
  DVD: 20-Nov-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Albert Band

Written by
  Louis Garfinkle

Cast
  Richard Boone
  Theodore Bikel
  Peggy Maurer
  Howard Smith
  Herbert Anderson



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