Fright Fest Review #12: Dead & Buried (1981)

At least they're not Patriots fans!
They may be killers, but at least they’re not Patriots fans.

Subgenre:  Zombie

Summary:  Tourists passing through the New England town of Potter’s Bluff keep getting murdered, but even more disturbing is what happens afterwards.

Review:  Dead & Buried is impossible to review without giving something away, so consider this a (mild) spoiler warning.  The “what happens afterwards” above refers to the fact that these murder victims show up walking the streets of Potter’s Bluff soon after they’re killed, apparently alive and well.  When Sheriff Dan Gillis begins to see what’s happening, he sets out to find the cause of it all.  Though the movie allows the audience more information than it does its protagonist, it also knows when to keep quiet.  The cause and extent of the strange phenomenon plaguing Potter’s Bluff are only revealed at the very end of the film, and they’re well worth waiting for.

What sets Dead & Buried apart from other horror movies of its time is its setting.  Potter’s Bluff is a richly realized New England town, full of oddball locals who all ring true.  But beneath this charming, Twin Peaks-like quality is a constant sense that something is wrong.  The creepy special effects, often venturing into the uncanny valley, are worth mentioning as well.

The Verdict:  Dead & Buried is a taut, chilling mystery that will keep you guessing.  I give it seven tourist traps out of ten.

Disclosure:  My uncle, Robert Fentress, was one of the producers for this movie.

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