Written and Edited By Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Gary Sherman
Producer: Robert Fentress, Richard R. St. Johns, et. al.
Screenwriter: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon
Date Released: May 29, 1981
James Farentino as Sheriff Dan Gillis
Melody Anderson as Janet Gillis
Jack Albertson as William G. Dobbs
Dennis Redfield as Ron
Nancy Locke as Linda
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
In the Town of Potters Bluff, visitors of the town are getting killed by the townspeople. Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) investigates these murders to see who is behind them. Meanwhile, Sheriff Gillis suspects that a mortician, William Dobbs (Jack Albertson) is hiding a secret that may be connected to the murders in question.
The Gore Factor
There is not a lot of blood or gore in this film. However, there is a notable scene in this film. In the scene, a man is seen burned alive in a fishing net. As to the remainder of the film, many scenes are suggestive and not outright gory.
The Grave Review
The storyline of Dead or Buried (1981) started off as a simple murder mystery film. But, what gave the film an additional horror element is the twist that the plot ultimately took towards the end of the film. It should be noted that when the big reveal occurs, the film oddly does not address the obvious twist until minutes after it happens. Doing so, took away from the impact that the twist was intended to do on the overall story.
The acting, in general, was decent, especially that of Jack Albertson and James Farentino. Jack Albertson as you may recall played Grandpa Joe in the film, Willy Wonka ten years earlier in 1971. To see Albertson in a different kind of character was interesting. Although, even in his role as the mortician, Albertson’s dark and dry humor comes across his acting which added a nice touch to his role in this film and is consistent with his previous works.
In addition, James Farentino plays a returning officer from the big city. In fact, sources indicate that Farentino is in reality from Brooklyn, New York so it fits that he personified the street-cop kind of character in this film.
Overall, the story was decent but could have incorporated a little more substance. However, the acting generally was well done. For these reasons, Dead or Buried (1981) is worth a watch but lacks in some areas.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Dead or Buried (1981) two and one-half graves out of five graves.
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You may also like our review of the film, Garden of the Dead,