Buried Alive is a 1990 American tv-horror thriller film directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Matheson and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Clint Goodman is a successful contractor who built his comfortable house and his construction company in his hometown through hard work. He loves his wife Joanna, but she is resentful of him most of the time. They have been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. Clint's best friend is Sheriff Sam Eberly with whom he now and then spends the time fishing in a lake nearby.
Unknown to Clint, Joanna has been having an affair with the local doctor, Cortland van Owen. He plans to kill Clint and sell his company and his house so that he can move to Beverly Hills and buy a clinic there. He convinces Joanna to help him and gives her poison, which is taken from a poisonous tropical fish. Though hesitant at first, Joanna goes along with the idea. While having dinner with Clint, she puts the poison in his wine. After drinking the poisoned wine, Clint has a heart attack and dies. When the coroner later asks if an autopsy should be done on the body, Cortland refuses. While Clint is at the morgue, he begins to show signs of life. Just before he is to be embalmed, Joanna gives him a quick and cheap funeral instead, skipping the embalming process. After that Clint is put in a cheap coffin that is water-damaged but also varnished to look like new. After his funeral, Joanna and Cortland celebrate.
During a stormy night, Clint, who has survived the dosage, wakes up buried alive. After escaping his grave thanks to the cheap coffin, he goes back to his house and learns the truth about his wife and the doctor. He hides in the basement to recover. The next morning, Joanna meets with a lawyer to discuss selling his business for $1,500,000, whiel Clint wakes up and plans to kill Joanna and Cortland by shooting them. However, when Cortland appears, he overhears in the following conversation that Joanna was pregnant and had an abortion of his child behind his back with the help of Cortland. Because of this new knowledge, Clint plots a darker revenge against them.
After Joanna sold Clint's business and collected the money, Clint makes her unconscious and locks her inside the basement of the house and boards up the windows. Meanwhile, at his apartment, Cortland puts some fish poison in a syringe and leaves. He arrives to see Joanna and finds the money on the bed. After a while, he finds her at the basement which is then closed after he enters. In the stress of the situation, Joanna, who has since recovered, sees the fish poison syringe and figures out that Cortland was going to kill her. Cortland then shows his true colors. he reveals to her that his real intention is to take the money for himself so that he can move to the tropics and live an easy life. They fight each other and just as Cortland is about to use the syringe on her, the door opens.
The pair finds out that most of the house is now boarded up. While trying to find a way out, they are led through a maze and split up. Cortland then sees a figure. Thinking it is Sam, who had begun to suspect about the circumstances of Clint´s death, he tries to bribe him, secretly planning to kill him with the poison. Then Clint appears, saying "Keep it". A stunned Cortland then trips and accidentally sticks himself with the poison after that, killing himself. Later Joanna is stuck between Clint and a small hatch. As her only option, she crawls through the hatchway where it dead-ends, allowing Clint to shut her inside. Clint then reveals himself to her and tells her he knows everything. After that he puts the dead Cortland and the money inside with her to what is now a wooden coffin. He then nails it shut tight and burns the house before leaving with his dog.
Sam, who through his observations now realises that Joanna and Cortland must have murdered Clint, rushes there to find the house on fire. After the fire is extinguished, no corpse is found inside the house. Sam then sees a person at Clint's grave, with his back to Sam. Realizing it is Clint, Sam tells him to never come back while promising to keep his secret, which Clint also intends to do. Finally it is revealed that the still alive Joanna and the deceased Cortland now occupy Clint's grave with the money, where a slow death awaits Joanna, who is aware of it.
- Tim Matheson as Clint Goodman
- Jennifer Jason Leigh as Joanna Goodman
- William Atherton as Dr. Cortland 'Cort' van Owen
- Hoyt Axton as Sheriff Sam Eberly
- Jay Gerber as Quintan
- Wayne Grace as Bill Scorby
- Donald Hotton as Reynolds
- Brian Libby as Earl, the embalmer
- Peg Shirley as Helen Eberley