A Tonally Inconsistent But Somewhat Charming Film
Despite some initial charm and nostalgia for old-school horror, Suzzanna: Buried Alive is a film that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Tonally inconsistent and devoid of any real horror, Buried Alive is a film that nails its comedic elements but fails to really deliver with its horror. The result is a film that feels more disappointing than it should although fans of Indonesian films, and Luna Maya, will certainly get more out of this than the wider International audiences.
The story revolves around Suzzanna and her husband Satria who have been married for seven years but have been, up until this point, unable to have children. After striking lucky and falling pregnant, four of Satria’s employees – Jonal, Umar, Dudun, and Gino – try to rob Satria’s house when he’s out to business, only to find Suzzanna asleep. As she awakens and the house descends into chaos, the four men wind up killing her and burying the body. When Suzzanna wakes up in bed the next day like nothing’s happened, what follows sees the four men haunted by the spirit of Suzzanna, forced into trying to kill themselves.
Set in the 80s, Suzzanna: Buried Alive tries to tap into that old school nostalgia for horror films of the time. The abundance of gore, blood and violence do well to showcase this but the over-acting and incredulous scenarios do require you to suspend your belief quite a bit. The sprinklings of slapstick humour here actually work really well though and tonally, Buried Alive gets this right most of the way through its runtime. Those expecting a horror full of thrills and scares though will certainly be left wanting.
It doesn’t help either that Suzzanna: Buried Alive is an 80 minute story stretched out to a little over 2 hours. The pacing feels off for most of the film too because of this, dragged out unnecessarily with the bursts of horror almost overwhelming greeted by shrieking laughter from the spirit. This overlong horror really fizzles out before the end which is a shame as there’s certainly potential here for a really satirical view on 80’s horror with a little more polish.
As a horror film, Suzzanna: Buried Alive fails to really deliver. As a comedic, satirical view on old-school conventional horror, Buried Alive does do a pretty good job although some of this is lost in translation through the 2 hour run-time. Those looking for a scary horror full of psychological twists and turns will inevitably be left disappointed but for fans of Indonesian horror, there’s just enough here to enjoy, even if Buried Alive is unlikely to be a film remembered for years to come.