Buried | Crooked Media
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In This Episode

Halle and Alison know bad phone etiquette when they see it while they ruin Buried.







[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Ruined. I’m Halle. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is a podcast where we ruin a horror movie just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Just for all of you. And here we are closing out greatest fears month. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, we got a good one. 


Alison Leiby: Um, Halle, how you doing? 


Halle Kiefer: I’m okay. Again, a hot, muggy fall here in. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Beautiful Los Angeles. Overcast, humid as fucking hell. 


Alison Leiby: God. 


Halle Kiefer: Which, again, I hate to see it, other than that by the time this comes out, we’re. I will be. I’m visiting New York, so I’m very excited. I just booked my tickets for the end of September. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Ooh, this will come out like when you’re here. Kind of. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m. I’m so excited. I’m like, very. I’m trying to make a list of things to actually go. I am going to be there for a short period of time. 


Alison Leiby: Yes and we’ll have stuff to do. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Like, what should I actually be doing? You know what I mean? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Well, it’s mostly food, I would imagine. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s a great point. I wonder—


Alison Leiby: It’s like seeing people and eating food. 


Halle Kiefer: I will say the three people I’ve talked to happen to be out that exact weekend out of town, I’m like, well, that would have been nice, but that’s not me. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. Well. I guess you’ll just have to come back. 


Halle Kiefer: I do want to come back for a little bit for like a longer amount of time in December because I’m two weeks off. 


Alison Leiby: Oh nice. 


Halle Kiefer: So I would love to come back if I can. And other than that, God, I don’t know, man. I just fucking work. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Work and read the news and scream like everybody. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. How are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: I’m good. I just got back from it’s like, obviously been, like, hot and terrible here as well with, like, whiffs of like, oh, it’s not that hot. And then, like, you do one thing, you’re like, it is very hot. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But I just got back from being in Portland and Seattle and I have to say also, like, think it’s like huge hordes of, like, like people in Ruined merch. Like, Ruined fans came out to my shows in a way that—


Halle Kiefer: That’s so nice. 


Alison Leiby: I’m so psyched. And I think I, like, drunkenly told everybody. I was like, We’re going to try and come to every city, so I guess we’re going to have to do that now. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s great. 


Alison Leiby: But everybody was so lovely. But when I landed in Seattle, I went to the aquarium and I got to see the otters. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh. 


Alison Leiby: I’m like, They’re just having the best, I mean, like, I don’t love that they’re in an aquarium, but I like that I got to see them, but like, they’re so cute. And I was like, I was like, delusionally tired. I had taken like a 7am flight east to west, so, like, I landed at like 10 a.m., like Seattle time and I like. Saw them and I was so tired and like, a little fucked up from, like, whatever drugs I take to fly. And I just, like, I was, like, alone at the aquarium in the middle of a beautiful Sunday. It’s everybody with their kids. And I was just like, crying at the otters because I was like, You’re all so special. They have their favorite rocks that they keep in their pockets. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Oh, God. Well, there is something, I think so like normalizing and beautiful about being around any part of nature. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And when that part of nature has a little face, and carries around a little rock. 


Alison Leiby: And like has little hands. 


Halle Kiefer: God bless them.


Alison Leiby: And they were doing, like, they have a little nose. It’s like, really sniffy. It’s like. [sniffs] Like just kind of like popping out of the water and just, like, twirling a lot and you’re like, I love you. I just I love otters. So it was very cool to get to see them in person. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m really glad. That sounds beautiful. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it really was. 


Halle Kiefer: I need to go to an aquarium. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: No, no you know what I want to go to at the. At the botanical. I believe at the L.A. Botanical Gardens, um, they have, you know, baby, a butterfly exhibit. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, yes, yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I’m like, if someone’s having a butterfly exhibit. 


Alison Leiby: You got to go. 


Halle Kiefer: Because you might think Halle, you’ve see all the butterflies. No, I haven’t. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: How dare you. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t think anybody can see enough butterflies. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So I just got to figure out which one it is at, cause I saw an ad for it. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. The Natural History Museum here has a big butterfly room as well. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, it’s so good. Oh, God. Okay. The butterfly pavilion at the Natural History Museum. I’m going baby. 


Alison Leiby: You got to go. 


Halle Kiefer: I got to go. Hey, it’s us. Also back on the podcast you’re listening to, this is Halle. 


Alison Leiby: This is Alison. 


Halle Kiefer: And guys, we are doing a live Ruined episode, a physical. You can physically attend this event. The time has come. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. The time has come. September 30th, which is a Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern. We are going to be doing the, that’s this Saturday. If you’re listening to I don’t know, I don’t know what week it is where you live—


Halle Kiefer: Can’t get in the weeds Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Can’t get in the weeds in time. Time is too complicated, but we will be in-person in Greenpoint, in Brooklyn at Archestratus, and the tickets are going to be in the episode description link, so you can go find the live show tickets there. But if you are going to watch digitally because you don’t live in Brooklyn, we understand and we’re still doing that, and you can go to Moment.co/Ruined. As always. 


Halle Kiefer: So please come out if you can. It’s going to be exciting. We’ve never done this before, so if it goes horribly well, you’ll be there for it. And isn’t that thrilling, the thrill of live performance. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. And if you watch online, you’re going to be able to see Halle and I in the same room. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course, the movie we’re doing is the movie Devil, executive produced by [laughter] one of M. Night Shyamalan himself. And it is, of course, people trapped in an elevator with the devil who’s to say? 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: We’ll say during the live show, so please come out. Or if not, please watch it on MomentHouse.com/Ruined— 


Alison Leiby: Nope. Moment.co/Ruined. 


Halle Kiefer: Fuck. All right. Sorry.


Alison Leiby: Moment.co/Ruined. I feel like our listeners know this link better than you do. 


Halle Kiefer: They do. 


Alison Leiby: Which is fine. 


Halle Kiefer: They do. 


Alison Leiby: You don’t need to know it. Or if you are in Brooklyn, please please please join us in person Archestratus is an amazing bookstore and they have food and there’s going to be wine and you know, all, all the faves are going to be hanging out. So we’re so psyched. And please join us either in-person or online. At the show, September 30th at 8 p.m. April. 


Halle Kiefer: We love, we love you.


Alison Leiby: We love you. 


Halle Kiefer: See you there. We are, of course, closing out greatest fears month with a fear that I think is pretty common. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Not not so. It doesn’t actually happen that often. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Thankfully, now that we have a little more modern technology and don’t live in the Victorian era. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And that fear, of course, is being buried alive. 


Alison Leiby: Oy. 


Halle Kiefer: And the movie we’re doing is 2010’s Ryan Reynolds vehicle, Buried. Which I remember seeing at the time. Well hearing about the time, but not seeing—


Alison Leiby: Me too. Yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And Alison, we always like to have her watch the trailer. And Alison, what are your thoughts on the trailer for Buried? 


Alison Leiby: Absolutely horrifying. Like, this is such a horrifying. This was also a plotline on Days of Our Lives, which I watched in the 90s and 80s—


Halle Kiefer: That’s so funny. 


Alison Leiby: —with my mother, because she would watch it every day. And that’s when we when she got home from school. And I got home from school because she was teaching and she would record it on the same VHS tape, like over and over and over again. So, like, these tapes [laughter] eventually wore out. She was like, time for a new tape. But she taped it every day and then watched it later. And boy, when Marlena got buried alive, that was. Was it Marlena? No. Was it John Black? I don’t know. I’m not going to figure this out now, but. 


Halle Kiefer: I believed you either way. 


Alison Leiby: No. Marlena was kept in a golden birdcage by Stefano in France. 


Halle Kiefer: Ooh okay. 


Alison Leiby: She got possessed by the devil. There was a lot happening in Salem, but. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. Interesting.


Alison Leiby: But there was a buried alive plotline. I remember even on a soap opera, like, even with, like, that production value and like, that kind of corniness and cheesiness, I still remember that being terrifying because it’s just like, no matter how you’re presenting it, it’s so scary. And in the trailer, I will say one of the things that really like was a moment where I was like [gasps] oh, is when you see that phone battery on its last, you know. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: The old phone being on its last bar and you’re like, oh, that’s the one, that’s the hope. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And once it’s gone, you’re dead. 


Halle Kiefer: Baby. You dead. 


Alison Leiby: You’re dead. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. We always like to take a baseline scary. And I think, you know what the baseline scary is going to be. Alison, how scary do you find the concept of being buried alive in a coffin? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, again, is it something I think is ever going to happen to me? No, no, I hope not. But the concept itself is like, again, it’s a thing that can that’s it’s not how scary do you find aliens coming down and stabbing you in the head with an intergalactic knife. Like, it’s just not really something I’m [laughter] you know, could wrap my head—


Halle Kiefer: First of all, rude. 


Alison Leiby: Like something that’s kind of like, outside of the realm of, like, the reality we know at this point. But like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But being buried alive, I mean, it surely happens to people. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. You got, I mean, obviously, you know, you pray and you hope that if you to be buried alive, you would simply suffocate or become unconscious, and you wouldn’t— 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Quickly. 


Halle Kiefer: Wake up. But you do always have those like the horror stories about people being unearthed and they’ve clawed up the top of the coffin and their nails are all split. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And who wants to go through eternity with their nails all fucked up? You know what I mean, that’s what terrifies me. But yeah, unlikely. But in this case, deliberately buried alive. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So not a mistake at a funeral, at a morgue. 


Alison Leiby: No. I think there’s also something extra scary about it because, like. The act is like death, like in the way like other words, like, oh, I’m afraid of heights, like. But being up high is not like a literal experience of like, you’re in a coffin underground. Like, that’s where dead people are. Like, there’s something like—


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: —the tie to—


Halle Kiefer: You’re pre dead. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yes. Death’s waiting room. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s kind of like the people were like, oh, well, cars kill more people and guns. And it’s like, yeah, but a car can take you to Target. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like a gun, like you shoot someone with a gun [laughter] that’s not a target. I don’t know like it just. Yeah, the, the, a similar argument. And before we get started, would you like to guess the twist in Buried?


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: I’m going to guess. That. He’s kind of in the trailer. You get like a tiny bit of plot of like he was maybe a soldier or doing something. I’m going to guess he’s. He. He does survive. And when he’s unearthed, he’s in an entirely different country. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh. I love that. Okay, that’s great. Okay. And let us begin ruining Buried. The movie opens with a man named Paul Conroy, played by Ryan Reynolds, waking up in a coffin because he has been buried alive. The entire film takes place in the coffin through a series of phone calls and mishaps within the coffin. It’s also not like a— 


Alison Leiby: Coffin mishaps?


Halle Kiefer: Not like a lined coffin, sort of like it’s just like a rough hewn. 


Alison Leiby: A box. 


Halle Kiefer: Box. Yeah, it is his coffin. It’s not like a coffin you  would go and pick out a funeral home. And we sort of hear Paul realize he’s at a coffin and start hyperventilating and panicking. And we luckily, he has, like, a Zippo lighter, and he flicks it and he starts looking around and obviously we hear screaming, pounding on the lid of the coffin. But there is at least presumably six feet, if you’re lucky it’ll last, by the way, pounds and pounds of dirt on top of him. He cannot open the open the door. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: Cannot open the coffin door. 


Alison Leiby: I’m getting like stressed out hearing just this already. 


Halle Kiefer: He also has a gag in his mouth and he has his hands tied together so he’s able to pull the gag out of his mouth. It just a strip of cloth and he tries to burn the strip that’s holding his hands together, but he’s just burning his hands. So finally he’s able to find exposed nail and saw through his bindings so he can—


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Finally be mobile in the coffin. He’s been buried in. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I mean, I have to say, there’s also a huge part of being buried alive or trapped in a coffin. That would be stressful because, like, as someone who changes sleep positions quite often, it would get very frustrating to be not able to get more comfortable. 


Halle Kiefer: And so that was my question. So like, basically there’s enough space for him to turn over, like onto his stomach, but he cannot easily like if he wanted to, like put his head at the other end, it would be very difficult. Not impossible, but like it’s—


Alison Leiby: Could he lay on his side?


Halle Kiefer: Yes, he could lay on his side. So if you wanted to take a dirt nap in this case. 


Alison Leiby: That to me is at least a slight like getting into the fetal position would feel like at least like a slightly less stressful. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Kind of physical experience.


Halle Kiefer: Alison he hears a cell phone ring. It is unfortunately down near his feet. So he has to sort of frantically kick it up to himself. 


Alison Leiby: Down near his feet?


Halle Kiefer: So by the time he gets up to him, he’s missed the call and he looks and everything is in Arabic. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: And he cannot figure out how to call the phone back like there’s no callback feature. So he just has to wait for someone else to call him. He fishes around in his pockets, he finds his wallet, but it’s been emptied out. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: He also finds a flashlight that kind of doesn’t work and keeps going out. Some pistachio shells he had in his pockets. He has. And it like a God what’s the word I’m looking for? A pocket knife. 


Alison Leiby: Mm. 


Halle Kiefer: So he does what I would do, which is he just calls 911. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And the woman picks up and says, oh, 911, he’s like, Hi, I’m not sure where I am or how I got here, but I’m a truck driver, an American. I believe I’m somewhere in Iraq I work for CRT, I’m a civilian contractor. Me and my convoy were attacked and they shot everyone and—


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: I, I, I, when I came to, I was in this coffin. And so basically he has a safety number that he’s supposed to call his company CRT. Like basically they will come and rescue you like the individual company, but obviously whoever took him took the safety number. So he’s got nothing, you know, and the operator says, Mr. Conroy, this is a 911 emergency number in Youngstown, Ohio. And I’ll be honest, I thought this was going to go to a much more interesting direction because I was like, oh, he’s in Youngstown. He’s not. So they never really explain why his 911 call connects there, because we find out later that he’s from Michigan. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Because I was like, oh, he’s Youngstown—


Alison Leiby: So it’s not even like—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: His local, his like phone, like knows where it’s from or something. 


Halle Kiefer: Also it’s not his phone. 


Alison Leiby: Oh it’s not his phone. So how did that—


Halle Kiefer: Alison I don’t know. We’re not going to find out. 


Alison Leiby: We’re not going to get answers?


Halle Kiefer: She says, this woman is helpfully like, I can patch you through the sheriff’s department. And he says, Forget it. And he hangs up. This guy screams, Forget it. And hangs up so many times. I’m gonna say this is a mistake, number one, but it’s a continual mistake. Does that make sense?


Alison Leiby: Like keep people on the line. You never know when someone will be able to help you. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Do not hang up on the phone when you’re on 911. Just like have her keep, like passing you on till you talk to the FBI. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Or the Pentagon. You know what I mean? Start with her and go from there. So then he calls his own home and leaves a message for his wife, Linda, and tells her to call the National Guard. He was attacked in Iraq and he’s in a coffin. Can you imagine getting that call from your spouse? 


Alison Leiby: No. No. You’re like, I’m in the middle of dinner. No. 


Halle Kiefer: The outgoing message is recorded by their son. So they have a son together. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: He calls Linda’s cell phone leaves her a message. She’s not picking up. Leaves her, he says to her, I’m buried in a box. I can’t breathe in here. Call me whatever you can. And again, it’s like, dude, you got to be calling. Keep calling emergency numbers like your wife. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Can not help you. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: She doesn’t know where you are. Right? And we see him take a sip from the flask, which is alcohol. And he calls 911 again, and he gets connected to a different one. And he says, the guy or sorry, he says, the woman, please connect me with the FBI. She says, What city would you like? We have Chicago. He goes just Chicago. Just just have me connect with the FBI. To be fair—


Alison Leiby: Whichever one does it. 


Halle Kiefer: To be fair, he is buried in a coffin. So I am—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I am trying to, like, you know, hold space for that. But he’s just screaming. These people who are like, sir, we don’t, I don’t understand what you’re talking about. But. And she says, You don’t be so rude. But she connects him. And the robotic voice reads off a number. And luckily, Alison, he has a pen, so he’s able to write the number on the lid of the coffin in case he gets disconnected. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So that’s smart. 


Alison Leiby: That’s great. 


Halle Kiefer: Writes on the lid of the coffin. And he gets connected to the FBI of Chicago office and he’s picked up by a Special Agent Harris and unfortunately, Agent Harris starts to think immediately is like, this is a prank call. This is bullshit, right? So Paul says he was in a convoy of trucks they were delivering kitchen supplies to a community center. You know that stuff that we were doing in Iraq, it’s just sort of like, wow, it’s completely the you are the only one who wasn’t involved in occupying the country or waging war. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like you were just delivering kitchen supplies. 


Alison Leiby: All right. Something.


Halle Kiefer: But to be fair, there’s plenty of people who took those jobs because they’re good money and I’m sure were lied to and told something completely different that we now can look back on. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And be like that wasn’t what was going on. So I am sympathetic to that. He’s like, well, kids started throwing rocks at the trucks and these insurgents popped up out of nowhere and started shooting everyone. And I got hit in the head with a rock when I woke up. I was here. And Agent Harris says, Well, why didn’t they shoot you? And he’s like, I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: Great question. 


Halle Kiefer: And the Agent Harris says, okay, let’s try to figure this out. What’s your Social Security Social Security number? And Paul’s like, Who cares? What does it matter? Just come find me, bitch. Grow up like they have to—


Alison Leiby: Say your social. 


Halle Kiefer: They have to do some due diligence. 


Alison Leiby: I say this because I’m like, just give anybody your social.


Halle Kiefer: Oh please. I mean, if I had to give my Social Security number to some guy I met once who showed me an apartment. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I and pray to God he doesn’t steal identity. That’s the least of my problem. 


Alison Leiby: Agree. 


Halle Kiefer: You mean me like if our identities get stolen but you get out of a coffin, that seems fine. But also I imagine the FBI gets a lot of questionable calls. So it’s not unreasonable to be like, okay, so give me some sort of verification of who you are so I can look you up. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, let us—


Halle Kiefer: I can look up your employer, but Paul’s like yelling at him and it’s like, again, I have to assume it’s because he’s panicked in the coffin. But why don’t I just tell him my Social Security number? Because you’re in a coffin, bitch. Like you just got to do what you go to do. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Right.


Alison Leiby: You got to listen to this lady. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, the phone call drops out, and Paul sees he has no signal, so he has to scoot around the coffin to try to get the signal back. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, how that works? I don’t know.


Halle Kiefer: Why he doesn’t call FBI back. I don’t know. But he calls his employer Creston Rowland & Thomas, CRT, and she gets through to someone. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And says, sir, if you’re this is an emergency, you have to call the security number you were given by your employer. He’s like, I’m sorry. Whoever put me in this coffin took it out of my wallet. Okay. She’s like, that’s fair I’m going to put you through to Alan Davenport. He’ll be able to help you. Alison, Paul gets his voicemail, and every time he gets a voicemail, he’s like I’m in a coffin, I’m in a coffin. He’s just like, Please help me. 


[clip of Ryan Reynolds: Please send help right away. I can’t breathe in here. I can’t breathe. I didn’t know how else to call. Please I’m, fuck—


Halle Kiefer: And the call cuts off and Paul starts to scream like fuck. And he’s beating on the walls of the coffin again. If I could give my Social Security number to some guy who showed me an apartment. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: That I have to pray to, God is not, is real. You could call that FBI agent to give him your social worker number and then tell him you’re buried alive. Am I wrong? 


Alison Leiby: Right. You’re connected through 911. Like it’s not like you’re they’re scammers who found you are like. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Give me your social and all of your credit cards. You’re in a coffin. 


Halle Kiefer: But luckily he was able to look and he sees the call that called him. So when that first time it rang, he’s able to call it back. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Also, the phone is entirely in Arabic, so he can’t navigate it, so he can’t figure out—


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: —what to do with it. And he’s panicking. 


Alison Leiby: And what what kind of what what, what? What era of phone? 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like a flip phone. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So it’s not like a phone or anything. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: But it’s within, you know, I mean, like, we would have had this when we were adults, like in our early twenties, you know, so old, but not—


Alison Leiby: Okay like a razor type like—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Not like from the nineties or anything not like a huge phone. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And so he calls back that, that number and before he does he writes the lid the lid of the coffin help with a question mark because we just have to have a little visual flourish. We’re in a coffin the whole time. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: He calls the number back and it’s out of service. He calls again and he gets a man named Jabir. Now, Jabir is giving what I would describe as what Americans think people in Iraq probably sound like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Yeah. I would imagine this movie doesn’t really handle. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And Jabir plays is played by José Luis García-Pérez. 


Alison Leiby: Okay great. 


Halle Kiefer: Who is from Spain and I think is doing what I what I presume is sort of what he believes an Iraqi person would sound like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: Which to our ears now is like, well, we could have at least hired someone who speaks the language. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And could maybe get a little closer to be fair. He is playing a terrorists who kidnaped someone. So that’s already problematic. But we do get into some of those things. You know, and he’s like, oh, you’re a soldier, you’re Blackwater. No, sorry. Jabir says, Oh, you’re a soldier? And Paul says, no, no, no. I’m just a contractor. It’s like, Oh, Blackwater. So no, no, I’m not security. 


Alison Leiby: No, no, no, no. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m just I’m a civilian contractor. I just drive a truck. And Jabir says, if you’re an American, you’re a soldier to me. And he says to him, I want $5 million by 9 p.m. or you’ll stay buried like a dog. 


Alison Leiby: You’re like, how do I even do that? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah plus like, I will call the. I will figure out a way to call the embassy if you come dig me up. If you dig me up right now, I will make sure you get $5 million. Cause well, what other do you say? You know? 


Alison Leiby: It’s like at least dig me up and give me a chance. You’re still you can still kill me once I’m above ground if I don’t give you $5 million. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: But at least like I can’t do much from underground. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, Jabir hangs up and Paul scratches out the word help on the lid of the coffin. Alison, at this point in the movie, what would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: I don’t know. How do I kill myself in this thing? 


Halle Kiefer: That’s the question. 


Alison Leiby: How much alcohol is in that flask? [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Not enough to kill. Not enough to kill you, I’ll tell you that much. 


Alison Leiby: All right. Well, that’s fair. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Maybe an Amish person. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, right. Gwyneth Paltrow. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, yeah. She’d be dead. 


Alison Leiby: She’d be dead. I am trying to kill myself. And, and I’m going to continue to use that phone to call every. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Fucking possible number that could exist. And and stay on the phone with people long enough that it’s like hopefully maybe somebody can like, triangulate your location. I don’t know if we did that back then, but I feel like. At least if somebody could figure out where you are. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: They could send people to go find you. 


Halle Kiefer: I’ll tell you what I would do. Die in the ground like a dog, Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, that is absolutely what would happen to me. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m gonna say this. Honest to God, my first thought is like, I would just masturbate like I would. I would at least something to like take my mind off what’s happening. 


Alison Leiby: It’d be hard to kind of, like, get into it. 


Halle Kiefer: [laughs] Well, I mean what else are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: That’s true. That’s true. There’s nothing else—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah okay it’s the challenge of a lifetime. But, like, you know. 


Alison Leiby: I’d. Yeah, I’d burn up the phone battery calling, like. Like Lava Line or something. [laughter] 


Halle Kiefer: That’s very funny. She spent her last 15 minutes of life calling, like some sex phone sex line from the nineties that, like, you’re like our grandparents used—


Alison Leiby: You’re like what are you doing? [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Oh, singles in my area. Okay, well, my area is a coffin underground. So I hope so, send these gals my way. [laughter]


Alison Leiby: Those ads were the best.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I always love the parody of them on 30 Rock. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Where it’s like, that’s not even a number in the phone number. 


Alison Leiby: [laughter] She cried all day. 


Halle Kiefer: I remember using like the pay phone we’d wait for our parents. Like, after school. Like, if you had, like, afterschool activities, you could call that for free. And then you’d have to, like, pay to talk to somebody. And so we would just call, listened to, like the prerecorded. 


Alison Leiby: The automated— 


Halle Kiefer: 30 seconds of like, oh, what are you doing? And we’re like, Whoa, that’s what’s sex is like. That is what sex is like, especially if you’re in a coffin. 


Alison Leiby: That is what sex is like. 


Halle Kiefer: And dying. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 




Halle Kiefer: Paul turns over and he makes a lot of questionable decisions and he’s starts to like, pull up the bottom boards of the coffin, and we hear the sand start to shift around and we realize that he’s buried in sand. So I was like, okay, so why are you making the coffin filled with sand? Like, why pull at the bottom? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: The only thing that could happen is sand comes in. 


Alison Leiby: And like I would say, there’s a lot of terrible ways to die. But like, drowning and suffocating in sand has to be up there as a really fucking bad one. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And then, of course, when you hear the sand, you’re like, okay, so the top of the coffin is going to cave in. The sand will come in. That’s what I would assume. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison he’s back on that phone and he calls  Donna Mitchell in Hastings, Michigan. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: And then, of course, is, I believe, either Linda’s sister or her best friend and finally gets on the phone. He immediately starts screaming at her like a fucking dumbass. Instead of explaining anything she’s like, I’m not going to fucking talk to you like this when you’re like this. And she hangs up and he goes, Fuck you, you fucking c-nt. It’s like, you are going about this so wrong, dude. 


Alison Leiby: So wrong. 


Halle Kiefer: And he calls on her back and he apologizes. He’s like, Donna, I need you to look up the number for the State Department, and if you don’t, I might potentially die. So please do it now. Donna is like, well, okay, I’ll do it now. You should’ve told me. 


Alison Leiby: Right.


Halle Kiefer: She she connects. She gives him the number he calls, he gets kicked to a woman called Rebecca Browning. She says, Okay, Mr. Conroy, thank you for calling me. I just need some more information. He says, well, I didn’t say your name. How? I didn’t say my name. How do you know my name is Conroy? She’s like, Well, you left a message with someone over at CRT and they just called us and so now they let us know and he’s like, okay, here’s what happened. You know, there’s this gunfight. And now I woke up in a coffin and he says. They’ve asked for $5 million. Will you pay it so I can get out of here? He, she says, No, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. We’re not going to pay that. And I said, Why not just lie? He doesn’t need to know that I’m sorry—


Alison Leiby: Just be like we are working on it. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly just lie to him like everyone here is so brutally honest. It’s like that’s, I don’t know, the US government. I find it hard to believe they would be honest in this situation right. 


Alison Leiby: No absolutely. They’re not honest with us when it’s like how much money you owe them. Like how like—


Halle Kiefer: Like I would just assume they’re lying to you until you run out of oxygen. Like, I don’t think I would assume they would try to placate you. Not the other way around. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. And like, like make you feel, like, calm and comfortable and not, like, stressed out and abandoned by your country. 


Halle Kiefer: She will have her connected with Dan Brenner, who is a commander of the hostage working group in Iraq, because apparently this does happen quite a bit. People being taken hostage and held for ransom. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So and Paul’s like, you know what, how about I call the news? Huh? Then you guys will maybe respond, you’re just trying to cover your ass. And she’s like, please do not call the news. That is not going to help you. The news is not going to be able to find you either. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. But here’s, connect with Dan Brenner. She connects him. Dan tells him we’re going to use your phone GPS to find you. I’ve been doing this for nine months. I’ve been here, this happens to dozens of people. Unfortunately, I have been able to find people in this exact situation. So he’s like—


Alison Leiby: Okay. That’s comforting, even if that doesn’t end up working. 


Halle Kiefer: He says switch your phone from vibrate to ringtone to save your battery and start looking around the inside the coffin for logos or manufacturing details, because that’ll help narrow down where you are because he was attacked in a certain city. So like well you’re probably outside the city. Right. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So we just we’re gonna head to that city and then start looking where you could be and start talking to people. And Paul says, Do you know if anyone else from my convoy survived? And Dan says, We’re looking into that now. We don’t know yet. It doesn’t look like it, but we will. We will also check in on that. And before they hang up, Paul says, I’m just a truck driver. I didn’t know it would be like this over here, Dan says. I don’t think any of us did. Guys, you invaded Iraq. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like I don’t think this particular situation. But I was like, it’s a war zone. What did you think was going to happen? 


Alison Leiby: What did you think it was going to be over there where like, oh, so sorry. You go ahead. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Please. Like. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. People were not thrilled. You know, just then Jabir calls and Paul immediately starts to argue, Dan’s like, Write down the number, tell me the number, and Paul’s like, I got to answer it or else he’ll hang up. Dan’s like, then just answer it. Paul cannot help but argue with the person he’s speaking with on the phone. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So Jabir says, okay, so where we at with the 5 million? And Paul says, yeah I talked to the government. They do not negotiate with terrorists. 


Alison Leiby: But also don’t repeat that. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes exactly like someone help this guy know what to say. Like have the government—


Alison Leiby: Like be like, oh—


Halle Kiefer: They’re working on it. 


Alison Leiby: They’re they’re putting that together. They need to know how to reach you. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. 


Alison Leiby: You tell me how to reach you. Like, it’s like there’s ways to I mean, I’m sure that like, the stress of being buried alive in a coffin would cloud a little bit of your normal logic. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. And at this point, this is not on Paul—


Alison Leiby: Come on man. 


Halle Kiefer: He talked to Dan and Rebecca Browning, and the CRT could, the CRT guy could call him back do it’s not on Paul now he has talked to actual professionals that are also not giving him good ideas. Right. And Jabir says, oh, I’m a terrorist because I terrified you. Okay. I see how it is. And Paul’s like, No, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying I was here for a job and I was kidnaped. It’s not my fault. Jabir says, you know, before you came. I had a job. My family, all had jobs. And isn’t it funny how when you guys showed up, no one has a job because the fucking economy collapsed? Like the whole fucking country’s in ruins. I don’t have a job. And Paul says, that’s not my fault. And Jabir says, Well, 9/11 wasn’t my fault. Saddam wasn’t my fault. But here we are. Whose fault is that? You know. 


Alison Leiby: Man makes a point. 


Halle Kiefer: And Paul says, I’m here to actually work and to rebuild. We were dropping off supplies at a community center. And Jabir says, Yeah rebuild what you people destroyed. So I appreciated that they at least acknowledge of like, sure, maybe you weren’t doing that, but you were a service of the military machine that is America. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: In the world, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm yep. 


Halle Kiefer: But you do fell bad for Paul, Paul’s like, I swear to God, I’m just a truck driver. I took this job because of this money. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I really. I didn’t decide any of this. I know you didn’t either, but, like, please help me. I don’t have 5 million dollars. 


Alison Leiby: We’re just two guys. 


Halle Kiefer: We’re just two guys. And Jabir’s like, Okay, I want you to make a video of yourself and then send it to me, because then that’s sort of like video evidence. And that was that era, unfortunately, of people being kidnaped and making and being in videos. 


Alison Leiby: Videos, videos also like. What kind of Internet service is available under. Like—


Halle Kiefer: Girl. 


Alison Leiby: I feel like I can’t send a video if I’m like, near the subway. Sometimes, like, it won’t go through. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like he’s easily six feet under sand and he’s sending videos on an old phone and like, old internet. 


Halle Kiefer: And like, also he has bars. So it’s not even on the Internet. It’s not WIFI. It’s like literally he’s bars apparently six feet underground. In Iraq, I was like, that’s a pretty good phone. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I couldn’t get reception in my apartment before I set up my WIFI. Like, I literally couldn’t make a phone call. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah no it’s a nightmare. 


Halle Kiefer: And I have AT&T. But Paul says, Listen, I’ll make the video. But just, you know, they already said they will not pay five million. And Jabir says, We’ll take one. And hangs up. So he’s like, We’ll take one million. Make the video. 


Alison Leiby: One, yeah that’s a little easier. 


Halle Kiefer: Paul reaches down to like get the bag and sort of look around cause there’s a bag of stuff and there’s a glow stick. The one is cracked and the other one is unlit. He also the we saw the flashlight earlier, we saw the pocket knife, and then there’s a note. And so apparently he has to read the note and make a video of like all of his information and he reads it and he crumples it and he throws it away. He’s like, I’m not making a fucking video for these people. Instead, he calls home again, gets the voicemail again, and we see that he’s down to his last two bars. He calls Dan back, thankfully, and gives him Jabir’s number. And Dan’s like, Oh great, this is actually a lot better because then we could track his phone and go talk to him directly because we are not having we’re having a hard time tracking your phone because you are six feet under the fucking ground. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And Paul says they want me to make a hostage video. And Dan says, Do not do this. Like like basically we have to create leverage. Like like we cannot give them any leverage. Like they have all the leverage. So it’s like we have to create a situation where they feel like we have some leverage. If you send them a hostage video, we don’t have any leverage. Paul is very distraught at this point. He’s like, I, you don’t care about me. This is you don’t care. This is an international. You just don’t want this to go to the press. Like you don’t want to be embarrassed. You don’t want there to be an international incident, which is probably true. He’s like, You don’t care about me. You don’t care about anyone who I was working with. If I was a diplomat or a politician, I would be out of here like, Fuck you, Dan. And Dan says, Look, I understand what you’re saying. The people who did this are desperate again, that the economy has collapsed in their country. We are. It was invaded by America. They are criminals. But because they have to be like, this is an industry that exists and this is true in other countries now where it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah absolutely. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s one thing to be like, Oh, they’re criminals. It’s another thing to be like, understand in the context of this is how people can get money. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Most normal people cannot get money. 


Alison Leiby: Can’t get money. 


Halle Kiefer: So it’s like you can be mad, but also like this is a regular person. 


Alison Leiby: This is it. 


Halle Kiefer: This is not some mastermind. These are just some guys. Who are like, Fuck this. We have to figure out. That’s why he went from five to one million. They’re just, you know, out here, just trying anything. And Paul said, You said that you’ve rescued people from this exact situation. Tell me one of their names. I just need to hear it. Dan says Mark White, 26 year old med student Doctors Without Borders. Insurgents grabbed him three weeks ago. He is and buried him alive. He is alive and back at school. We found him. We will find you. Okay? 


Alison Leiby: Okay. That’s what you want to hear.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Right. Like that’s and even if that’s completely a lie. Just fucking tell him that, right? Like, and he’s like, calm down. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And Paul says you know actually, I have anxiety I pills for it. He had pills for his anxiety the whole time. I’d just be fucking just. I’d be eating all of them. 


Alison Leiby: Just chugging them. 


Halle Kiefer: Dan says take the pills, relax. And the less you hyperventilate and the less you run your lighter, it won’t burn up the oxygen. So. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Luckily they have the glow sticks. So he cracks the glow stick and he’s sort of just laying there. Unfortunately, Jabir calls him and says, start screaming at him to make the video. And Paul’s like, screaming and freaking out, being like, I can’t, I can’t. He hangs up. 


Alison Leiby: Stop screaming. 


Halle Kiefer: Luckily, his anxiety meds kicked in and he takes a gulp from his flask. Alison It is 7:20 and Jabir said, we need this by 9 p.m. so they have an hour 40. 


Alison Leiby: God. 


Halle Kiefer: He calls his mother’s nursing home. His mother, Maryanne, and asked to speak to her. And this is very sad exchange where because she does not remember him, because she has obviously has Alzheimer’s. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: But finally then she goes, Oh, Pauly, I remember you. And he’s like, Yes, exactly. Your son. Remember, we lived in this house, you know. She says, How are you doing? He says, Not good. This is probably the last time I will talk to you. Which again, I mean, like, maybe I would tell my parents that I probably would just be like, I just want to talk to you. Like, I probably wouldn’t be like, I’m in a coffin. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I don’t think I would—


Halle Kiefer: I probably wouldn’t say that I’m being totally honest. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Well especially to a parent with Alzheimer’s where it’s like, can’t you just have a nice conversation that she can maybe hold on to since. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t. Like why, why, why put her through the stress. 


Halle Kiefer: But you know, she also doesn’t remember anyways and. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, she’s he says I just want tell you I love you when you tell me you love me back. And she goes, Oh, you know, your father and I’ve been playing gin rummy all night, you know. And she just like, she’s not there, you know, he’s. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He just tells her goodbye. I love you. And he hangs up and he’s just sobbing and he gets another call. But at that moment, he’s so distraught he doesn’t answer. And he looks at his phone and he’s received a text and it is a text of a ostensibly American woman with a gun to her head, and he immediately recognizes her. And he calls Jabir back and says, Don’t hurt her. She has two kids. And Jabir says two? That’s so funny. I had five and now I have one. So how about you fucking make me the ransom video, bitch? And so he records the video, which is just him laying out all the facts we know. 


[clip of Ryan Reynolds: My name is Paul Conroy. I’m an American citizen from Hastings, Michigan. I’m a civilian truck driver for Creston Rowland & Thomas. And I’ve been taken hostage somewhere in Iraq. 


Halle Kiefer: And then sends it to Jabir and then he kind of falls into an uneasy sleep. Alison he wakes up to find a snake crawling up his pant leg. And is there—


Alison Leiby: Inside the pants or outside?


Halle Kiefer: Inside the pants, inside the pants. Is it wrong that it’s like I’d rather be bitten by a snake and die than suffocate in a coffin for days. 


Alison Leiby: I absolutely would also rather be bitten by a snake and die.


Halle Kiefer: Bring it on, you scaly a little bitch, you know. Also this. You’re in his house, right? Or her house? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So this man does what I would describe as the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen in a movie, which is—


Alison Leiby: Oh, my God. 


Halle Kiefer: —he uses his flask. To sort of create a barrier of booze. Like the bottom of the funeral. I sorry. The bottom of the coffin. 


Alison Leiby: Coffin. 


Halle Kiefer: And then he uses lighter to set it alight, to create a little wall of flame to force the snake out back through the hole. So now he’s set a fire in his own coffin. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: In sand. 


Halle Kiefer: In sand. 


Alison Leiby: With no water or ability to put it out. 


Halle Kiefer: And now it’s burning up all the oxygen. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Also in his terror, he has kicked the phone to the bottom of the coffin. So basically he has to, like, scooch around and try to grab it. Luck—


Alison Leiby: In the fire. 


Halle Kiefer: Luckily, the snake is terrified by this turn of events, the snake slithers away and he’s able to throw sand from the broken floor bottom of the coffin over the fire and put it out. Though he does miss a call while this is all happening and in the distance he could hear the Islamic call to prayer, which implies both that he is pretty close to the city and he is not buried that deep because he could hear it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So he looks his phone and then only then he realizes he can set it to English. And I was like, that’s dumb as fuck. But I absolutely would do that. I absolutely would be like, oh, my God. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. It’s very like I can’t get something to turn on. And I’m having a panic attack and it’s like, it’s not plugged in. Like, it’s that kind of like just complete oversight of like, did you try? 


Halle Kiefer: And so luckily that he’s able to navigate the phone, he’s able to find out the number of the phone, which he wasn’t able to give to Linda. 


Alison Leiby: Oh okay. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s like, just call me back of this comes up on the machine, but I can’t tell you. So he calls her again. Linda is still out and about and doing shopping I guess. Women be shopping, men be dying in a coffin under the ground [laughs] and he leaves it for her. But, Alison, he’s down to one bar and he gets a video back. It is the woman from the photo. It is one of his coworkers, Pamela Lutti, and who was kidnaped also from his convoy. And she says, my captors requests have gone unanswered. She is shot point blank in the head and Paul vomits when when he sees this. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, of course, because that’s. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Terrible. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see that he has his pocket knife, we see him, he’s sort of we hear a montage of all the calls and he sort of takes out the pocketknife and he presses it to his own throat. Like, if that’s where we’re headed, maybe I should just do this. 


Alison Leiby: I mean do it.


Halle Kiefer: Then he hears his son’s voice in his head from the voicemail, and he puts it down. And Dan calls him says, Bitch, why did you make that video? I told you. He says. Paul says you don’t care about me. You’re just babysitting me until you die. It’s like, okay, well, your ransom video is at 47,000 hits on YouTube, and it’s becoming an international incident. And we still know where the fuck you are because it didn’t help us in any way. And Paul says, Why didn’t—


Alison Leiby: Well, it’s not going to hurt. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean at this point. What could? Paul says, Why did I have to find my phone number myself? Why wouldn’t you know something like that? And Dan says, I don’t know everything. I just know what I know. Which I also thought was going to turn out to be something else. And it doesn’t. 


Alison Leiby: Oh okay, cool. 


Halle Kiefer: Paul says, Have other people from my convoy survived? Dan says, None that we know of. And they have no further time to discuss it because nearby we hear a huge explosion and the coffin lid snaps and sand starts pouring in. 


Alison Leiby: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. See, this would be like this would be where I’d be like, Oh, I wish I was already dead because this is terrible. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Alison, Who will survive this film? 


[voice over]: Who will survive. 


Alison Leiby: I do not think he’s going to make it out alive. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. I think you’re. You’re on to something here. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I think so. 




Halle Kiefer: Paul screams and the phone rings again, and it’s Alan Davenport from CRT. So when he left a voicemail with of initially. And he’s able to sort of wedge the boards back together so sand isn’t coming in quite as intensely, but it’s still trickling in. And Alan says, Well, we saw your video. Have you talked to the media? He’s like, I didn’t talk the media. You bastards don’t care about me. 


Alison Leiby: Talk to the media? 


Halle Kiefer: He’s like, Paul, I’m going to go and record this phone call do I have your consent. And Paul’s like, Sure, what do I—


Alison Leiby: Yeah, who cares anymore? 


Halle Kiefer: He says, Paul, when you were hired. Were you a made aware of the dangers of the job? And did you sign a contract explaining the company policy of hostages? And Paul says, What are you doing? Why is this happening? Alan tells him. As of this morning, your CRT employment was terminated due to your affair with your coworker Pamela Lutti, which is strictly against CRT rules. And due to that, you no longer work for CRT. And since you’re alive at the end of your termination, you do not work for us anymore. And Paul realizes, Oh, you’re doing this so you don’t have to pay my insurance out to my family. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You are cutting me off of my benefits to not only let me die in a fucking coffin to screw over my wife and child, am I right? And Alan says, I’m sorry. And Paul hangs up the phone. Alison, it’s 8:30 we have 30 minutes left. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the coffin top cracks again and sand starts dumping in. 


Alison Leiby: Sand. 


Halle Kiefer: Paul calls Dan, and Dan tells him there’s been a bombing of the city. Three F-16s leveled part of it. If the people who took you were killed, I can’t really tell you if we can find you where you are. So if Jabir was some of the people. If he was amongst the dead. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t. We don’t know what to do. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, my God. 


Halle Kiefer: But we are going to continue to try to track your signal. Paul says, okay, what should I do? And Dan says, I don’t know. And Paul says, you know, it’s weird knowing I’m dying. It’s weird knowing I’m gonna die. 


[clip of Ryan Reynolds: It’s weird. 


[clip of Robert Paterson]: What is? 


[clip of Ryan Reynolds: Knowing. 


[clip of Robert Paterson]: I wish this could have gone differently, Paul. 


Halle Kiefer: And so Paul records a last will and testament in which he includes his Social Security number, which is funny, it’s like, okay, now you’re willing to share it. And birthday. And he leaves a message for his wife and his kid. And he leaves his wife, Linda his $700 in his savings account and whatever is left in his annuity and he doesn’t really have anything else. So he leaves his son Shane his clothes. And he’s like you’ll grow into them, and basically just leaves this lovely video for them. Will they ever see it? I don’t know. I hope he texted it to Dan. They don’t say it. But you got it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s like. 


Halle Kiefer: And he hangs up and he watches his lighter die. And in the darkness, his phone rings and it’s Jabir again. 


Alison Leiby: All right. 


Halle Kiefer: Asking for the money and Paul says, I’m the coffins filling with sand, dude. The money’s not happening. And he says, You know, if you cut your finger and bleed and record the video, I bet they’ll pay. Paul says, No, I’m not going to fucking do that at this point. Alison—


Alison Leiby: Also, like, what was that like? It’s like he’s in a coffin, like, trapped underground, but like, oh, he’s bleeding from the finger. Like, now we have sympathy. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And let’s send the money. This is serious. It’s like it’s been serious. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, Jabir has Paul’s family’s home address, and he says you show blood or they show blood. You have 5 minutes. And Paul calls Dan and gets his voicemail and tells him Jabir is still alive. He wasn’t killed in the bombing and he watched the video of Pamela again and cries and he cuts himself and films it because what else is he going to do? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, yeah. May as well you’re going to die anyway. Like, give it a last shot. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Even though it doesn’t make any sense. 


Halle Kiefer: And as he looks up, he can hear people digging. And here’s the lid of the coffin opening and a soldier asking if he’s okay, but he’s obviously just hallucinating. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s actually staring at the sand, falling through the cracks in the coffin lid. However, he gets one final phone call and it’s Dan and he’s like in a speeding Humvee. You could hear it like they’re driving. There’s like, we’re almost there. A Shiite insurgent was captured and he says he knows where American was buried alive. He’s leading us to you. We are 3 minutes out. Alison. The coffin is filling with sand. And he says, Paul says, I have to go. And it’s Linda calling him back. Alison, the sand is pretty much to the top of the coffin. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, my God. 


Halle Kiefer: But he and his wife get to say goodbye. And of course, he’s not going to let her know he’s finally wised up. He’s like, I’m not going to let her know that I’m not getting out of here. 


Alison Leiby: No, no. 


Halle Kiefer: And he tells her, I love you. I swear I’m coming home. I’m going to come home. And she’s like, I love you and I’m so sorry. And he hangs up and Dan calls back and he’s like, I’m sorry. We got to the grave. And we dug it up, but it’s not yours. He brought us to Mark White’s grave. Meaning that story he told about Mark White being Mark White being rescued was a lie. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And he says, I’m sorry, Paul. And the coffin goes dark as the sand fills to the top. The end. 


Alison Leiby: Whoa. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: What a dark ending.


Halle Kiefer: Oh boy. I’ll tell you what. And I’ll be absolutely, honest. Like there are some elements of this that I think have not aged well, but the main thing is like. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: When he said they had an affair, he goes like, oh, she’s just a coworker. And I think there must have been an original version where they were having an affair and then they, like, kind of didn’t want him to be a bad guy. But to me—


Alison Leiby: Because yeah otherwise, like, the sympathy is a little harder to gain. 


Halle Kiefer: But I feel like if you’re shooting a movie that’s in one place, you have to like it has to be then about the character, like you have to like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Cause I could think and be like the thing he keeps repeating he’s just a truck driver. So I thought we were going to be like, actually there were weapons in the truck. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, that will be reveal. It’s like, yeah, you’re not you are part of this. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And the fact that they didn’t do anything interesting with it, I think made me feel like that was like a studio note or something because you can’t if it’s just a guy in a coffin to make him just a good guy, a very American and kind of boring, I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s like, all right. I mean, it’s sad. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But. 


Halle Kiefer: What are some fatal mistakes? 


Alison Leiby: His poor wife also then like, is going to find out he’s dead and then also that she doesn’t get a life insurance payout. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: That’s awful. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, what are some fatal mistakes you think were made in Buried? 


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, it’s like I don’t think that anything that he did could have changed the outcome, but the stuff he was doing along the way was all the wrong stuff to do. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: So it’s like this kind of like, are they fatal mistakes? Like, probably not. Like, I don’t think there was a way out for him, but it’s like the setting the fire and general phone etiquette. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And hanging up on people constantly and not like I mean, I get it, but like, not like sitting and figuring out like, can I switch this phone to English instead of Arabic? Like, it’s like all those things, like maybe you could have had a chance. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But I think ultimately, like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: We saw what happened to the other guy by the end. Like, we just know it’s not they’re not going to find him. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I mean, at a certain point, the mistake was America being a military—


Alison Leiby: Yes invading Iraq. 


Halle Kiefer: —force around the world. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm. 


Halle Kiefer: And yeah, like a lot of people are just did just take those jobs like a lot of people who are in the in the military they don’t it is a financial and decision more than anything else. It is not. 


Alison Leiby: Mm hmm, right. 


Halle Kiefer: Even a patriotic decision. It’s like, well, what are my other options? 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Who’s going to how do I pay for college? You know, so. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: I am very sympathetic to that. And then yeah, how to know what you’re going to like, how how you would act in this situation. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And then finally, where would you where would you put this movie on the spooky scale, Alison? 


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I think this is like a six. 


Halle Kiefer: Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like, stressful and scary and claustrophobic. But then, like, you’re also, like, come on man, stop setting fires. Like, stop. Like, burning your battery on, like, different phone calls that seem to be, like, not going anywhere. Like it takes you out of the scariness a little and, like, unfortunately, like, puts a little bit of blame on him, even though, like, I think there was no escape. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But being buried alive is very horrifying. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: What about you? Where would you put this? 


Halle Kiefer: I’m gonna go four. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I think I needed, I want to say a different actor. I love Ryan Reynolds. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But I need someone who’s actually going to, like, make me feel it. You know what I mean? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. He’s not someone like. I think he can be very funny. He’s obviously very handsome, very charming. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But, like, I’m not getting, like, emotion from him in the way that I would like for this. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, everyone, thank you so much for joining us. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We hope you enjoyed greatest fears month. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, lot of fears. 


Halle Kiefer: And if you’re going to keep it, keep it going next week with or next month we’re doing. Let’s scare Alison to death. So feel free to let us know your suggestions on social and yeah. Until then, everyone, please. 


Alison Leiby: Please. 


Halle Kiefer: Keep it simple. 


Alison Leiby: Keep it spooky. 


Halle Kiefer: Bye. 


Alison Leiby: Bye. 


Halle Kiefer: Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media for show updates. And if you’re as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. The show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.