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Suzzanna: Buried Alive

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Suzzanna: Buried Alive Movie Poster Image
Blood, gore, scary imagery in entertaining horror movie.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 125 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

Horror movie blood and gore. Demonic imagery. One of the characters is stabbed through the jaw, eyes, and ears with wooden spikes. A character is decapitated by a coiling wire. Characters stabbed to death, stabbed in the throat, through the top of the head, in the back. Character killed by getting impaled on a tree branch. Death by choking. Characters are killed by getting buried alive. Some fighting with punches and kicks. An angry mob burns a house down. A demon attacks a man getting a massage; his back is shown clawed up and bloody. A woman who was come back to life after being murdered is shown with a massive gaping bloody wound across her back. 

Sex

A home invader takes a woman's panties out of a dresser drawer, presses them to his face, and deeply inhales. 

Language

"Bastard." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking, cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Suzzanna: Buried Alive is a 2018 Indonesian horror movie in which a woman murdered by home invaders comes back from the dead to get revenge. While not as bloody and gory as other horror movies, there are still plenty of scary moments that are too much for younger or more sensitive viewers. The cackle of the lead character after she has transformed into an avenging demon is enough to give most kids nightmares, to say nothing of the more violent moments, such as one of the characters getting stabbed in the jaw, eyes, and ears with wooden spikes. There's also a decapitation when steel wires coil around the neck of one of the bad guys. Characters stabbed in the throat, back, and top of the head. Another character dies by getting impaled on a tree branch. Characters are buried alive. For older audiences, this is an entertaining horror movie that somehow, despite the themes and imagery, doesn't come off as dark and as similar horror movies. 

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What's the story?

IN SUZZANNA: BURIED ALIVE, title character Suzzanna (Luna Maya) and Satria are a happily married couple living in a luxurious mansion with three servants. They have just received the good news that Suzzanna is pregnant. But when Satria, the owner of a prosperous factory, must travel abroad for business, things take a terrible turn. Four of Satria's employees, frustrated over being poor, hatch a scheme to break into Satria and Suzzanna's mansion while Suzzanna and the servants are away, steal some valuables, and improve their financial standing. But when Suzzanna returns home as the thieves are in the house, the four men, panic-stricken and not very bright, kill Suzzanna. Or, they think they have, but she's still alive when they start to bury her in the back yard. However, when the servants return, Suzzanna is in the house, and aside from acting a little strange and distant, it seems as if nothing has happened. But what the four thieves soon discover is that Suzzanna has become a sundel bolong -- a ghost who was once a pregnant woman -- the angriest and most wrathful of spirits. After consulting with a shaman, the four men must find a way to stop Suzzanna and keep Satria from finding out what happened to his beloved wife. 

Is it any good?

This is a creepy Indonesian horror movie that manages to balance the scares with a kind of goofy kitschy charm. In other words, it's not as dark as other horror movies centered on avenging demons and the evil side of the spiritual realm. As Suzzanna, the doting pregnant woman who has been murdered by a quartet of bumbling would-be home invaders who is resurrected as a ghost determined to get revenge, Luna Maya's insane cackle is unsettling and thoroughly entertaining -- the stuff from which nightmares are created. It's the kind of cackle that will reverberate in the minds of audiences for weeks after viewing. 

And yet, for the darkness of the story, Suzzanna: Buried Alive manages to be escapist entertainment without leaving the audience to spend the rest of the day brooding on overdone horror themes like "the dark side of human nature." The romance and melodrama, intentional or not, come off like the most mawkish of telenovelas, and the secondary characters are almost all goofy and two-dimensional, and none of that affects the quality of the movie overall. If anything, it adds to the fun of the experience. That said, this is the kind of horror movie one can enjoy for its own sake, and for all its scares, it doesn't take much effort to remind yourself and those around you that, "It's just a movie." 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about horror movies. How does Suzzanna: Buried Alive compare to other horror movies in terms of story, violence, imagery?

  • What were some of the ways in which the movie tried to scare the audience? Did it rely more on blood and gore, or on psychological suspense? 

  • How did the movie use humor to perhaps soften the darker elements of the movie? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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