Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Buried Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Intense buried-alive thriller may be too grueling for most.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie seems to say that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and there's very little anyone can do about it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Paul never gives up trying to save his own life, and he spends his time thinking of his wife and child, even though he appears not to have led a squeaky-clean life. He learns to trust others and ask for help via the cell phone he has with him. He writes information down for future reference, and he's constantly solving problems. All of that said, the movie's outcome may obscure some of the character's finer points.


Paul is threatened by his unseen captors, and he shouts at various people on his cell phone. Viewers see grainy video images (on a cell phone) of another girl being tortured with a gun to her head. In another scene, Paul must chop off his finger to appease his tormenters, but nothing is shown. A snake enters the coffin, and Paul kills it with fire.


Nothing is shown, but Paul is accused of having an affair with a co-worker, which he denies.


Many uses of "f--k," as well as "hell," "son of a bitch," "s--t," "c--t," "ass," "goddamn," "oh my God," and "d--k."


One mention of SeaWorld.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Paul has a metal flask with him, but it's never revealed what's inside. It could be alcohol or water. He also carries and takes pills for anxiety.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Buried is a very intense thriller that takes place entirely within a coffin buried under the sand. Considering that most people have an innate fear of being buried alive, the movie can be nearly excruciating to watch -- although it's very well made. The main character (played by Ryan Reynolds) has a lighter, a cell phone, and some other supplies, but he's the only person shown on screen. Expect some intense behavior and strong language (including many uses of "f--k"). Brave older teens and grown-ups may be intrigued, but be ready for nightmares.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTheoDoyp January 21, 2016

An Intense thriller inside a coffin.

))Spoilers! ))

This intense thriller about a man buried alive only with limited tools to survive is very well made and entertaining. The whole film is the main... Continue reading
Adult Written byMasseh October 28, 2011

Swearing is minor

It's a great movie. The swearing is the main problem but a nine year old can watch it. swearing's minor.
Teen, 16 years old Written byavonlea12arnette February 1, 2020

The scariest movie I have ever seen

I have seen horror movies before, and they are scary but the kind of scary that you jump and then are maybe nervous around sewer drains for the next couple of w... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byJohn A. June 19, 2018

Rated 15 (Contains sustained threat and very strong language).

SEX/NUDITY - It is briefly implied that a man and a woman may have had a sexual relationship. VIOLENCE/GORE - There are brief instances of strong undetailed vio... Continue reading

What's the story?

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a non-military contractor driving a truck in Iraq, circa 2006. He wakes up in total darkness, shocked to discover that he's in a coffin, apparently buried alive somewhere in the Iraqi desert. He has a cigarette lighter and a flask, and he has been given a cell phone, a flashlight, and a couple of glow sticks. He begins calling anyone he can think of for help, all the while fighting an endless array of troubles -- mainly the ever-diminishing air supply inside the coffin, but also a snake attack, a cave-in, and the horrible, horrible panic that won't ever completely go away...

Is it any good?

Spanish director/editor Rodrigo Cortés makes an impressive U.S. debut from a tightly crafted, classically thrilling script by Chris Sparling. The idea of staying entirely inside the coffin for a full movie is a huge challenge, and the filmmakers have mounted it admirably; they reveal information a little at a time, provide an emotional ebb and flow (with essential rest periods for the audience), and ramp it up when the time is right.

This, it goes without saying, sets the stage for a tour-de-force one-man show, and Reynolds makes it his own; it's a superb performance, possibly Oscar-worthy. Overall, Buried is an astonishing, even daring achievement. The major problem is that it plays into a deep, basic human fear, and most viewers may not want to put themselves through it. In other words, it's a very, very good film, but it's difficult to recommend.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the psychological horror in this movie. Does it have more or less impact than gorier horror films? Why?

  • Is this movie scary? What's the difference between this kind of terror and something more supernatural?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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