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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Christopher Eccleston
Kerry Fox
Ewan McGregor.
Directors
Danny Boyle.
Screenwriters
John Hodge.
Running Time
94 minutes

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Shallow Grave


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


Review
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.


Verdict
Chilling Brit rollercoaster-ride of a crime thriller


Reviewed by Caroline Westbrook

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Shallow Grave
Empire Star Rating

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



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