Buried (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byRodrigo Cortés
Written byChris Sparling
Produced by
StarringRyan Reynolds
CinematographyEduard Grau
Edited byRodrigo Cortés
Music byVíctor Reyes
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 23 January 2010 (2010-01-23) (Sundance)
  • 1 October 2010 (2010-10-01) (Spain)
Running time
95 minutes
Budget$2 million[2][4]
Box office$21.3 million[2]

Buried is a 2010 English-language Spanish survival thriller film directed by Rodrigo Cortés.[5] It stars Ryan Reynolds[6] and was written by Chris Sparling.

The film follows Iraq-based American civilian truck driver Paul Conroy (Reynolds), who, after being attacked, finds himself buried alive in a wooden coffin, with only a lighter, flask, flashlight, knife, glowsticks, pen, pencil, and a mobile phone. Since its premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the film has received a positive critical reception.


In 2006, Paul Conroy, an American civilian working in Iraq, awakes to find himself buried in a wooden coffin with only a Zippo lighter, a pen, and a BlackBerry phone at hand. As he gradually begins to piece together what has happened to him, he recalls that he and several others were ambushed by terrorists, passing out after being hit by a rock. After calling 911 in Youngstown, Ohio, the FBI in Chicago, and his employer — none of whom help him — he receives a call from his kidnapper, Jabir, demanding that he pay a ransom of $5 million or he will be left in the coffin to die. Along with the script Paul is to read, Paul also finds a malfunctioning flashlight, a glow stick, a flask with alcohol, and a pocket knife.

Paul calls the State Department, which tells him that due to the government policy of not negotiating with terrorists, it will not pay the ransom but will attempt to rescue him. They connect him with Dan Brenner, head of the Hostage Working Group, who tells Paul they are working to find him, to conserve the Blackberry's battery life, and implores him not to make the video that Jabir has demanded. Brenner informs Paul that a man named Mark White was rescued from a similar situation three weeks prior and is now home safe with his family. Paul calls his mother, who is in a nursing home, but she barely remembers him due to severe dementia.

Jabir calls Paul again and demands he film a ransom video, sending a photo of his colleague, Pamela, gagged with a gun to her head. Paul insists that no one will pay $5 million, so Jabir drops the amount to $1 million. Paul finds a live snake in the coffin, which he is able to drive away through a hole in the wooden crate side with a fire from the alcohol. After switching the language on the Blackberry from Arabic to English, he finds the Blackberry's number, which he relays to his wife in a voicemail. Paul records the video, but the kidnappers execute Pamela anyway and send him a video of the murder. He calls Brenner, who is upset with him for making the video, which is now being played on all major networks and has received numerous views on YouTube.

Shortly afterward, distant explosions shake the area, which damage his coffin, causing it to slowly fill with sand. His employer's legal counsel calls him, asking him not to speak with anyone in order to keep the situation "contained". His employer then begins to record the call and informs him that he has been retroactively terminated from his job earlier that same day (before his capture) due to an alleged prohibited relationship with Pamela. Because of this, his company will not only not take any responsibility for his capture, but additionally, he and his family will not be entitled to any benefits or pension earned with the company.

Brenner calls to report that the explosions that damaged his coffin earlier were in fact F-16 bombings and that his kidnappers may have been killed. Paul begins to lose hope and makes a last will and testament in video form, leaving his wife his personal savings and his son his clothes. Jabir calls demanding Paul video record himself cutting off a finger, threatening Paul’s family back home by revealing their home address. Paul complies with this demand.

Shortly after filming the video, his cell phone rings, and Paul begins to hear digging and distorted voices. The voices become clearer and the coffin opens. It is abruptly revealed that he hallucinated the encounter.

Brenner calls and tells Paul an insurgent has given details of where to find a man buried alive, and that they are driving out to rescue him. Paul then receives a tearful call from his wife Linda, and he assures her that he is going to be okay. As sand continues to fill the coffin to dangerous levels, giving Paul seconds left to live, Brenner calls and tells him that he and the rescue team have arrived at the burial site. Through the phone, digging is heard, but Paul cannot hear any digging around him. The team digs up a coffin and opens it, but it is revealed that the insurgent led them to the coffin of Mark White, the man Brenner claimed had been rescued.

Knowing that he is not going to be saved, Paul accepts his fate. Brenner profusely apologizes to Paul as the sand finally fills the coffin and he suffocates as the light goes out.

In a post-credits scene, a lighter illuminates the name "Mark White" on the lid of the coffin, written by Paul earlier.



The film was produced by Barcelona-based Versus Entertainment, in association with The Safran Company and Dark Trick Films.[1] It was shot in Barcelona over 16 days.[7][8]

Lead actor Ryan Reynolds stated that he suffered from claustrophobia while filming (much like the character he plays). The coffin he was in was gradually filled with sand as filming went on such that he was actually buried while shooting the film's climactic moments. Ryan described the last day of shooting as "unlike anything I experienced in my life, and I never ever want to experience that again." The production crew had a team of paramedics waiting on standby.

Director Rodrigo Cortés' inspirations included the Alfred Hitchcock films Rope and Lifeboat.[7]


Buried premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2010. Lionsgate purchased the US and UK distribution rights to the film after a bidding war with other distributors including Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures and Fox Searchlight Pictures.[8][9]

The film received a limited theatrical release in the United States on 24 September 2010 and a wider release two weeks later on 8 October. The film's first trailer premiered with A Nightmare on Elm Street. The second trailer premiered at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, and was attached with select prints of Dinner for Schmucks, Resident Evil: Afterlife, The Expendables and The Last Exorcism. Buried was released theatrically in Spain on 1 October 2010 by Warner Bros. Pictures.[10][11]

The film won the best European feature film of the year award at the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival in September 2010.[12] It was presented at the Deauville American Film Festival, in competition, and the Toronto International Film Festival,[13] out of competition, in September 2010.

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 157 reviews with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Wringing a seemingly impossible amount of gripping drama out of its claustrophobic premise, Buried is a nerve-wracking showcase for Ryan Reynolds' talent."[14] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 65 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[15]

Film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film three and a half out of four stars and wrote that "Rodrigo Cortés, the Spanish filmmaker behind this diabolical, Hitchcock-influenced narrative stunt, makes merry mischief with camera angles and lighting".[16] Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood called it "a brilliantly twisted suspense thriller that would have made Alfred Hitchcock proud."[17] Chris Tilly at IGN gave the film a perfect 10 out of 10.[18]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone awarded the film two out of four stars, commenting: "Ninety minutes of being buried alive with Ryan Reynolds: Didn't we all suffer that in The Proposal?"[19]

Industry reception[edit]

Film director John Waters named Buried as one of the ten best films of 2010, stating, "The most excruciatingly painful date movie imaginable comes complete with a very smart feel-bad ending. See it with someone you hate."[20]


Award Category Subject Result Ref.
Gaudí Award Best Actor Ryan Reynolds Nominated [21]
Best Visual Effects Mònica Alarcón, María de la Cámara,
Gabriel Paré and Àlex Villagrassa
Nominated [22]
Best Art Direction Maria de la Cámara and Gabriel Paré Nominated [22]
Best Editing Rodrigo Cortés Won [23]
Best Director Nominated [21]
Best Sound Urko Garai, James Muñoz, Marc Orts Nominated [22]
Best Original Screenplay Chris Sparling Nominated
Best Film in non-Catalan language Adrián Guerra and Peter Safran Won [23]
Goya Award Best Actor Ryan Reynolds Nominated [24]
Best Original Score Víctor Reyes Nominated
Best Original Song Nominated
Rodrigo Cortés Nominated
Best Editing Won
Best Director Nominated
Best Sound Urko Garai, James Muñoz, Marc Orts Won
Best Film Adrián Guerra and Peter Safran Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Chris Sparling Won
Best Special Effects Nominated
IGN Movie Award Best Performance Ryan Reynolds Nominated [25]
Méliès International Festivals Federation Méliès d'Or Won [26]
MTV Movie Award Best Scared-As-S**t Performance Ryan Reynolds Nominated [27]
National Board of Review Award Best Original Screenplay Chris Sparling Won [28]
Saturn Award Best Actor Ryan Reynolds Nominated [29]
Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actor Won
Best Limited-Release/Direct-to-Video Film Nominated
Best Screenplay Chris Sparling Nominated
Best Score Víctor Reyes Nominated
Strasbourg European Fantastic
Film Festival Award
Best European Film Adrián Guerra and Peter Safran Won [30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Buried (2010)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Buried". The Numbers.
  3. ^ Nelson, Rob (26 January 2010). "Buried Review". Variety. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  4. ^ "Ryan Reynolds interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi on Q". CBC.ca. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Sundance Festival One-Sheet: Buried". Dreadcentral.com. 18 January 2010. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  6. ^ "New Stills: Ryan Reynolds is Buried Alive". Dread Central. 10 December 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  7. ^ a b Boucher, Geoff (12 September 2010). "The Directors: Rodrigo Cortés builds suspense in 'Buried'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  8. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (25 January 2010). "TOLDJA! Lionsgate Buys U.S. & Canadian Rights: Sundance Bids For Ryan's 'Buried'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  9. ^ Horn, John (24 January 2010). "Sundance 2010: 'Buried' lands first big deal, at $3.2 million". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 28 June 2022. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  10. ^ Abuín, Alberto (1 October 2010). "Estrenos de cine | 1 de octubre | Enterrados vivos, asesinos y vampiros pijos de coña". Espinof (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  11. ^ "Buried". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  12. ^ Brown, Todd (14 October 2010). "Sitges 2010: Buried Wins Prestigious Melies D'Or". Twitchfilm.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  13. ^ Lambert, Christine (2010). "Buried press conference photos - 35th Toronto International Film Festival". DigitalHit.com. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Buried Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Buried Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (22 September 2010). "Can this be happening to me?". RogerEbert.com. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  17. ^ Mantz, Scott (21 September 2010). "MovieMantz Review: 'Buried'". Access Hollywood. Archived from the original on 7 October 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  18. ^ Tilly, Chris (23 September 2010). "Buried Review". IGN. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  19. ^ Travers, Peter (24 September 2010). "Buried". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  20. ^ Waters, John. John Waters: Best films of 2010. joeclark.org. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  21. ^ a b "'Pa negre', 'Herois' y 'Buried', grandes favoritas en los III Premios Gaudí". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 17 January 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  22. ^ a b c "Nominades - III Premis Gaudí". Gaudí Awards (in Catalan). Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  23. ^ a b "'Buried' engalana su carrera hacia los Premios Goya". La Nueva España (in Spanish). 18 January 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Premios Goya 2011 en EL PAÍS". El País (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  25. ^ "Best Actor". IGN. Archived from the original on 2 October 2022. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  26. ^ Hopewell, John (25 October 2010). "Buried wins Europe's Melies d'Or". Variety. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  27. ^ "Twilight leads MTV Movie Award noms". News24. 4 May 2011. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  28. ^ Pond, Steve (2 December 2010). "'The Social Network' Sweeps National Board of Review". TheWrap. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  29. ^ Moore, Debi (24 February 2011). "2011 Saturn Award Nominees Announced". Dread Central. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Buried". European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.

External links[edit]