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The Shovel (2006)

 -  Short | Mystery  -  April 2006 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 105 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

When Paul Mullin discovers his neighbor digging a hole on the middle of the night, he writes it off as simply a bizarre encounter. Until the neighbor - and his wife - disappear. Paul calls ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Paul Mullin
...
Hank Lagrange
...
Sheriff Cole
...
Deputy Hudson
James Peelor ...
Jimmy Barmore
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Storyline

When Paul Mullin discovers his neighbor digging a hole on the middle of the night, he writes it off as simply a bizarre encounter. Until the neighbor - and his wife - disappear. Paul calls on the local sheriff to help unearth the truth and finds out that in a small town some secrets are better left buried. Written by Nick Childs

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based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Short | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated
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April 2006 (USA)  »

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$30,000 (estimated)
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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

A punchy film that builds and delivers a satisfying story in a short time
12 April 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It is late at night when Paul is drawn from his porch by a strange noise coming from Hank's house. The noise is Hank digging a hole in the dusty dirt at the foot of his yard however the only issue Paul has is that he is using Paul's shovel to do it – one that he lent to him months before but never got back. Hank is annoyed by this comment and makes a big deal of returning it that very night. The next day Paul wakes to find that his shovel has indeed been returned to his porch but then starts to worry about the nature of the hole.

I won't spoil it but this short film is a nice little potted mystery that is build, floated and concluded all in the space of 15 minutes. The conclusion is a solid one but really it is all the work that had gone before this point that made me enjoy it. The opening scenes at night make for a great hook as they are full of intrigue and questions and lead neatly into later discoveries and developments. It moves quickly along to the point where I didn't really worry about specifics or have a lot of time to work it all out myself. The atmosphere is vital and in this regard Childs has done a great job in the script but also the direction.

He benefits from having a strong cast including some more used to "bigger" films that this. Strathairn makes an engaging lead and his delivery is spot on required – straightforward but with an edge to it. He is matched by smaller but equally good turns from Guinee and Huff – the former in particularly being a good presence. Overall then a punchy film that builds and delivers a satisfying story in a short time showing that not all short films need to be arty and introspective!


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