Director: Stefan Haverkamp
Writer: James Cooper, Stefan Haverkamp
Producer: Stefan Havekamp
Stars: Tristan Griffin, Phaedra Lewis, Natalie Friedman, Thompson Waite, Rachel Povse, Brian Jaser, John Pellinghelli
Six hipster friends camping in the woods begin disappearing when they are stalked by something mysterious.
It could be that the filmmakers knew they were flushing a floater and fully intended for it to work this way. Regardless, “Bury” is a textbook example of how to perfectly position an independent horror movie for total failure and abandon it into virtual obscurity.
Look at the official loglines. The description on Amazon starts with, “what happens when you drop six smartphone-addicted Brooklyn hipsters in the woods for a weekend?” Like anyone cares. The iTunes summary touts that the film was “shot entirely on Go Pro cameras” while adding, “it’s easy to make a movie these days, isn’t it?” Well, sure. When the only goal is to have an unremarkable cast unconvincingly act on a consumer camera and be arrogant enough to release the result as a commercial product, any goon can do it.
In what world does someone think trumpeting characters’ hipster status, winking at fatigue for “found footage,” and advertising handheld camera quality constitute attractive selling points? Does anyone associated with “Bury” even want an audience to see this movie?
Apparently not. Indie horror in the 21st century practically lives or dies on grassroots word of mouth, yet “Bury” has no noticeable social media presence whatsoever. Try finding a Facebook page for the film. Now try tracking down a Twitter feed, or a press release posted by a genre news outlet. If “Bury” does have any of these, they are impossible to find thanks in part to titling the film with a four-letter word easily lost or misidentified in just about any search engine.
IMDB and iTunes/Amazon don’t even agree on the movie’s release date (2014 or 2015), probably because no one has bothered to update the film’s IMDB page. At least this puts “Bury” in the unique position of eligibility for “Top 10 Worst Horror Movies” in two different years.
“Bury” director Stefan Haverkamp does have a Twitter account, but here is something curious. Do an advanced search for “bury” appearing anywhere in his public posts and you’ll find no results for the word. Not even a simple, “hey guys, my new movie ‘Bury’ is now available on Amazon and iTunes. Check it out!” I searched the Twitter accounts for two of the top three billed leads (the third doesn’t seem to have one), and there are no mentions of “bury” there, either. Apparently Haverkamp and his stars can be counted among those not exactly going out of their way to acknowledge that the movie exists.
I don’t blame them. Maybe the mantra for how best to market “Bury” was to take a tip from the title.
“Bury” is as cluelessly scripted and as carelessly constructed as “found footage” gets. Here is the travel brochure for what taking a trip with these insufferable d-bags gets you: Marvel as a carload of hipsters spends their road trip arguing over who is the bigger hipster! Watch the debate end in a six-way tie when everyone agrees it is okay to break into a locked Korean restaurant just because they want to! Paddle along as one woman silently rows a canoe alone for over seven minutes of screen time! Scream in terror when a scare comes from her unexpectedly falling into the water momentarily! Yeah, exciting stuff.
These six “friends” are the worst possible people you could ever go camping with for countless reasons. The biggest being that they couldn’t care less when you go missing under mysterious circumstances. The first friend disappears for something close to 24 hours and the most urgency anyone devotes to mounting a search is, “we’ll look for him after lunch.” Lighting two cigarettes simultaneously in order to snap a perfect Instagram photo is more important in the meantime.
As the group starts dwindling one by one and tempers begin tearing friendships in two, one mystery demands to be solved above all others: on a 10-star scale, does “Bury” deserve a one or a zero?
It deserves a zero. But I’ll throw it an enormously generous one for having the chutzpah to go forward with an ending so preposterous, it almost has to be seen to be believed. I said, “almost.” Definitely do not see it.
The only redemptive quality of “Bury” is its sterling standing as a cautionary tale for independent filmmakers on how to create a “found footage” fiasco that is top to bottom trash. Bare minimum effort is present in every detail, right down to VOD release key art that is plain black nothing with a blurred red blob in a bottom corner. There is no passion anywhere, only formula, and it is poorly presented at that.
The poster tagline makes this too easy to be anything other than hacky, but I’m shooting that barrel-swimming fish anyway. “What’s worse than dying?” Watching this movie.
Review Score: 10