7.3/10
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142 user 93 critic

Shallow Grave (1994)

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Three friends discover their new flatmate dead but loaded with cash.

Director:

Danny Boyle

Writer:

John Hodge
14 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kerry Fox ... Juliet Miller
Christopher Eccleston ... David Stephens
Ewan McGregor ... Alex Law
Ken Stott ... Detective Inspector McCall
Keith Allen ... Hugo
Colin McCredie ... Cameron
Victoria Nairn Victoria Nairn ... Woman Visitor
Gary Lewis ... Male Visitor
Jean Marie Coffey Jean Marie Coffey ... Goth
Peter Mullan ... Andy
Leonard O'Malley Leonard O'Malley ... Tim
David Scoular David Scoular ... Cash Machine Victim
Grant Glendinning Grant Glendinning ... Bath Victim
Victor Eadie Victor Eadie ... Freezer victim
Robert David MacDonald Robert David MacDonald ... Lumsden
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Storyline

The new flatmate of three preexisting roommates turns up mysteriously dead but in possession of a large sum of money. When the roommates decide to keep it for themselves, their action sets in motion a destructive chain of events that spiral out of control. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The award winning thriller that'll bury you with laughs. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of strong grisly violence, and for some language and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 February 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Petits meurtres entre amis See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£734,340 (United Kingdom), 20 January 1995

Gross USA:

$2,881,508

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Danny Boyle, the three main actors carried out research for their characters' respective jobs. Ewan McGregor worked on a newspaper, Christopher Eccleston spent time at an accountancy firm and Kerry Fox did a night shift at a hospital. See more »

Goofs

Several scenes supposedly take place at night, yet when the stairwell is featured, sunlight is pouring in through the windows. See more »

Quotes

Alex Law: When was the last time you heard these exact words: "You are the sunshine of my life"?
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits appear over images of the three main characters in happier times, ironically all laughing hysterically. See more »

Connections

References Psycho (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Shallow Grave
Written by Neil Barnes and Paul Daley
Performed by Leftfield
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A great little thriller who's pace covers it's weaknesses
4 January 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Alex, David and Juliet share a flat together and are looking for a new flat mate to help fill the flat out. They see various applicants who don't fit until they meet the mysterious Hugo who is `interesting' and takes the room. Almost a week goes by and he doesn't come out of his room once, so they break down Hugo's door to find him dead with a suitcase full of money. To keep the money, they agree to destroy Hugo's body and draw straws to see who does the cutting. David ends up doing the deed but it affects him badly and he becomes increasingly erratic and paranoid. Meanwhile two criminals are dredging the underworld looking for the money.

Any film that can pose a moral question that stays with the audience is off to a good start and needs to build on it. That is the case here with the `would you keep the money' question - the answer being `yes' in terms of the characters here. The plot then sees the greed do what greed do best - feed paranoia and divisions between the characters. It's a theme that has been done before but is still well done here. The plot has weaknesses in logic and flow - David's paranoia doesn't totally go the way that seems most likely, rather the way that the film requires. Also the film doesn't build good characters. However what it does do well is turn up tension and drama very well - as the net closes and the characters start to turn on each other.

This is where the comparatively short running time helps - it keeps the whole thing from being onscreen too long to be analysed to death while you are watching it. I didn't question the weaknesses because I was caught up in the story. It has a good pace on it although it can't keep up the speed it set with it's stylish opening credits (which have been impersonated so often since). The final act is a fitting denouncement and, like I said, even if some of it doesn't totally scan the film moves along fast enough to cover it.

Despite the lack of really developed characters, the cast do really good jobs on the whole. McGregor is great - this and Trainspotting show how great it can be, just makes it harder to see him looking miserable in the Star Wars films. Fox is also very good, although she is a lot subtler than McGregor. However it is Eccleston who steals the film, even if he is required to go further than he should have in his downward spiral; contrast his character at the start and the end of the film, he did very well to gradually go from one to the other convincingly. The support cast is made up of familiar faces who don't really do that much - McCredie, Stott, Allen and Mullan.

Overall this is not without it's flaws but it works as a tight little moral thriller that is really enjoyable while watching it. And the ending will have you in the pub or on the message boards talking about it (in a good way).


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