Wednesday, 20 April 2016

I Bury the Living (1958)

The Krafts are a wealthy family with a strong philanthropic bent.  They hold a number of volunteer positions in the community, including stewardship over a local cemetery.  One of the younger scions of the clan - Robert - has just been assigned to the role.  It's not a position he's all that comfortable with, but he is impressed by the large map in his office.  It shows all the plots in the cemetery.  Those that are occupied are marked with black pins, while those that have been purchased but not yet used have white pins.

On Robert's first day on the job, a newly-married friend of his stops by to purchase a pair of plots.  When young Mr Kraft goes to update the map, though, he's not really paying attention to the colour of pins he uses, and puts black ones in instead of white ones.  A harmless enough mistake, you might think ... except that the newly-weds turn up dead in a car accident the next day.  Did putting the wrong pins in the map really kill the young couple?

It's not a bad premise, but the movie tediously belabours it from this point on.  Over the next week or so, Robert, despite not wanting to hurt anyone, somehow allows himself to be persuaded to put six more black pins into the plots of still-living customers.  I have very little sympathy for his angst when all six are reported dead.

Eventually, it occurs to Robert to try switching the black pins for white ones.  This is the point where the film could have moved away from being boring and delivered some real chills ... but instead it opts to just become boring and dumb.


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