Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dead and Buried, movie vs. book

Dead and Buried by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Dead and Buried with James Farentino

In Potter’s Bluff people are being killed and it looks like they just might be coming back.

The book is creepy and spooky and a lot of that comes from the fact that things develop slowly and you don’t know what is going on for some time. So many things look normal and there are just little clues for you to follow. The sheriff has time to wonder if the deaths are accidental, to wonder what is going on with his wife. There is time for the tension and mystery to build. Unfortunately there isn’t time for that in the movie. Things happen much more quickly. The tension wasn’t allowed to build and it made it less a creeping terror and made it a little campy. And one of the scenes that I found most frightening in the book, where a couple and their son are being chased, loses some of its impact by being turned into a short chase instead of the running and hiding and moments when you think they are safe. Except for the pace, at first the movie does closely follow the book. You can see all the major events and they happen pretty much the way they did in the book. There are changes to some small things, people die in different ways for instance, and there seemed to be no reason for the changes but they didn’t make too much difference, they just made it more gruesome (maybe that’s the reason I was looking for). And the movie was more gruesome. There are some descriptions of the burned dead bodies in the book but mostly it isn’t a blood and guts horror it is more an eerie kind of horror. Later in the movie there are a few big event changes that I was annoyed about at first but they managed to fit in without much change to the overall plot and outcome. Because you can actually see who is doing what in the movie a few things were more explicit than they were made in the book but they were hinted at in the book so not too much was given away and in the end it just added to the quicker pace of the movie that had already been established. I was glad to see that the ending of the movie was very close to the book and so kept the effect the same. Overall I think the movie was pretty true to the ideas, concepts and feel of the book if not always the exact sequence of events. I think this is a good book to movie conversion but I still find myself on the side of the book. Mostly, I think, because I tend to like the creepy horror, the empty house, spooky sounds, you feel like someone if watching you type stuff over the splashing blood and dismemberment horror. And the book was more the former and the movie more the latter.

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