Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Roar Power
Jurassic World unleashed on iTunes
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Christopher Eccleston
Kerry Fox
Ewan McGregor.
Danny Boyle.
John Hodge.
Running Time
94 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Beasts Of No Nation
4 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Shallow Grave

submit to reddit

Three friends discover their new flatmate dead but loaded with cash. Internal wrangles ensue with grissley results..

This, the debut feature from acclaimed TV director Danny Boyle, is the best British thriller for years, a chilling and claustrophobic heart-stopper centring on a moral dilemma destined to fuel many a dinner party conversation.

David (Eccleston), Juliet (Fox) and Alex (MacGregor) are three Edinburghians hunting for a fourth flatmate, even though any rational person would see them as the sort of mildly obnoxious people you wouldn't want to share fridge space with. They eventually settle on the mysterious Hugo (Keith Allen), a decision which swiftly turns out to be a big mistake, for the next day he turns up dead in his bedroom with a suitcase full of cash under the bed.

Inadvisably, the trio act with spontaneity and, having mutilated Hugo's body beyond recognition and buried it in a nearby forest, they pocket the cash. From this point, things gradually become creepier and weirder, as the neurotic David battles with his conscience and his wayward partners in crime bask in their new found financial stability without ever considering the consequences of their actions.

Despite the usual thriller cliches (shadowy rooms, he's-behind-you moments, suspicious cops), this achieves its cut-above-the-rest status through frighteningly realistic characters and relentless pacing. Boyle never lets up for a second, packing more into a slender 94 minutes than many films twice the length, while avoiding contrived sub-plots or cumbersome character development. Instead, we're faced with the protagonists' shocking downward spiral into deviance and madness.

As horrific as it sounds, the violence is deceptively subtle, heightened instead with grisly sound effects and suspense, and there is one hackle-raiser of a shock ending. Not a perfect film by any means, occasionally becoming too baffling for its own good, but with 1995 barely days old, the first unmissable film of the year has arrived.

Chilling Brit rollercoaster-ride of a crime thriller

Reviewed by Caroline Westbrook

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Shallow Grave
Empire Star Rating

tp://]Shal low Graveanny Boyle`s debut film tells the story of 3 young people (among wich is Ewan McGregor in one of his first roles) who share an appartment en are looking for a new roommate to join them. One day, a guy named Hugo rings the bell: he wants to rent the room. Everybody happy, until Hugo is found dead in his bed and the remaining three make a big discovery. That is the beginning of a thriller that is a fluent mix of tension, very black... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:38, 13 May 2014 | Report This Post

Danny Boyle's best. Intense, exciting, clever and brilliantly simple. Love the black humour and the cold characters who all revolve around each other as the plot deepens and throughs these three friends into the grave. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 15:20, 01 April 2013 | Report This Post

Danny Boyle's Best

The sublimely haunting atmosphere created by Danny Boyle in this supremely original thriller is by far the most memorable of any of his films, and still retains its' power to this day. The entire cast are excellent, the setpieces are suitable drab, and the script is sharp as a tack. Gloriously entertaining black comedy ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 03:24, 17 January 2011 | Report This Post

Shallow grave

Darkly humorous, symbolic and surreal, Shallow Grave is a good British film from the director who can appear to adapt almost anything. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Blue Ryan at 19:01, 01 February 2010 | Report This Post

Fasten your seatbelts...

For this nonstop tour-de-force. You'll never forget this experience. Gritting and terrifying, this is a movie that will shake your nerver. See it if you dare... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 02:50, 07 January 2010 | Report This Post

Absolutely Brilliant!

Shallow Grave is so unique! It is really tense and the storyline is fantastic. One question I'd like to ask Danny Boyle is how did he pack it all into 90 intense minutes? How? It was awesome! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Balian of Ibelin at 21:14, 09 March 2009 | Report This Post

Danny Boyle's best. One of the best british movies of all time. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shawshank prisoner at 16:09, 04 March 2008 | Report This Post

thanku empire for finding me this gem

Well i was reading this empire magazine and i found that this film was reviewed for some reason or other and that it got 5 stars. At the time i was into black comedys and this supposedly was a comedy. I was not dissapointed and found the film quite funny. The ending though made the film what it is because it is so well done. Watch and find out. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OMGWTFBBQ at 21:27, 04 July 2006 | Report This Post

Empire's Best Horror Films For Halloween
An unlucky thirteen triple-bills

Emily Blunt Talks Sicario
On the five-star thriller, puke acting and taking Tom Cruise to The Box

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)