The movie opens in London where an elderly woman is watching the news and listening to the fall of the Soviet Union (the year is nineteen ninety one you see…). A skinhead breaks into her house and you think bad things are going to happen, but she gets the drop on him with a stun gun. He wakes up handcuffed to the radiator yelling about what an old man told him. She drugs him and then tells him a story. Why in that order? Apparently, the drugs will help him understand what she is saying. The woman was a Russian soldier in World War II and is assigned with others to escort a crate from Berlin to Moscow. This crate is more important than any of their lives and the orders come from Stalin himself! Insert Brad Pitt screaming “What’s in the Box?” meme here. Every night on the road they bury the box only to dig it up the next morning to continue on their way. Eventually they get ambushed by the Germans and get stuck near a small Polish village.
Here we find out that Hitler’s body is in the box. Stalin wants it because “Russians look their enemies in the eye.” And the Germans want it so they can “prove” it isn’t old Adolph and keep the “dream” alive. I mean they know it is him but don’t mind a bit of lying. Bad stuff happens, most everyone dies, and the action moves back to ninety one and the old lady. She kills the skinhead but not before pulling out a hatbox and showing him something that freaks him out. I’m guessing it was Hitler’s skull, but we never know. The end.
If we ignore the fact that this was sort of sold to me as a creature feature and not a war/drama movie I still was disappointed. There isn’t much in the way of action as we go for long stretches of the characters establishing that the war has given them bad dreams. This is shown thru the fact that the Germans like to use lichen to make smoke that causes those folks breathing it to hallucinate. Which is how they work traumatic images in to torture the characters. Though the story never explains why these images haunt them. So that seems like a missed opportunity.
The action sequences aren’t very dynamic and seem to play it like an old war movie from the fifties. There are a few bits of blood, but for the most part folks get shot and fall over. That might seem like an odd complaint, but the standards are a bit higher these days. Especially when you make a central theme of your flick to be the horrors of war. I mean show me some horrors then!
Overall, there is nothing memorable about Burial. I’m also not sure what the point was. Nothing much happens and the payoff I kept waiting for never materializes. We start the movie with an old woman who has Hitler’s noggin’ in her closet and end with an old woman who has Hitler’s noggin’ in her closet. What happens in between isn’t much better. While not a horrible movie I can’t recommend anyone spending their time on this one.
© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer