The Burial Movie Review
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Called a passion project by its director, The Burial (2023), now streaming on most digital platforms, feels incomplete and that’s not due to its micro-budget. Without a solid story, no amount of money can save a film that’s missing motive, tension, and resolution.
Molly (Faith Kearns) invites herself along when her boyfriend, Brian (Vernon Taylor) gets a panicked call from his brother, Keith (Spencer Weitzel) to meet him at their family cottage in the woods. The trip up there is uneventful enough but once there, the veil between worlds slips. Brian is forced to cover for his brother again, Keith can’t keep himself out of trouble, and Molly needs to choose better men. Trapped inside the cabin, they face a vengeful spirit baiting them to either turn on each other or go mad trying to resist.
Where The Burial works is with its effective use of limited space and its capable actors. We can believe Keith did something sketchy and his brother will always be there to bail him out. We can believe that Molly just wants to be a supportive girlfriend, even if she knows supporting means turning the other cheek. We can believe that each of them has reasons for survival that go beyond simple self-preservation. That’s quality acting and it’s commendable.
What we can’t get past is why the thing in the haunted woods feels the need to monologue. I personally don’t like showy supernatural entities because It shines a spotlight on missing narrative elements the screenwriter/director shouldn’t shore up either in the script or during production. Where movies like The Burial fall apart is making two unbelievable things true at the same time, which goes back to continuity. This supernatural entity is invited into the cabin, but then when it’s convenient, it can’t get back in and has to draw everyone out, but then it pops in and out again. It’s like a cat that can’t decide what side of the front door to complain on.
Where it further crumbles is continuity, weather, and a solid script. I’m all for haunted forests and indiscriminate possession, but by reasonable or even micro-budget movie logic, it’s just another multi-part vlog on the Clock App made by a few friends with access to a nice video editor. There are too-long beats between the action scenes, establishing shots that only establish white balancing is hard, and an ending that would have made a great way to close the film if it matched with the previous 77 minutes.
The Burial starts off more or less promising, but even the earnest acting can’t save what should be at the very least a by-the-numbers cabin in the woods send up.
The Burial (2023) is unrated, but call it Rated R for swears, people getting shot and people getting axed in the chest because those are really the only choices