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Shallow Grave

What's a little murder among friends? 

Year: 1994 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (Wide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave, whilst having the extremely worthy and rare characterisitic of being a British film, has been widely hyped, most notably in the wake of the gore-fest that was Pulp Fiction. But is it worth watching?

Director Danny Boyle opens up his first big screen movie with an innovative title sequence (complete with lovely music by Leftfield), which sets the tone for the pace for the film. We are then introduced to the three occupants of the flat (the place to which the film is central) via a series of interviews they conduct for a new flat mate. They quickly establish themselves as obnoxious 20-something's, asking delightful questions such as: "What makes you think we'd live with a nerd like you?"

The eventual flat mate, Hugo (Keith Alan, fresh from Martin Chuzzlewit, soon arrives, departing soon afterwards to the after-life, leaving behind his body and a suitcase full of cash. This provides the central focus of the film; what do they do with the money?

Following the much vaunted dismemberment scene, the tension rises as events build up to their rather inevitable climax, with the remaining flat mates (Alex, Juliet and David) becoming suspicous of the other. The situation gets more and more severe as the film progresses, with each of them suffering the effects of their crime in some way or another.

Admittedly, the film does contain a number of disturbing scenes, especially with all the weapons used in it being common household items. The much talked about dismemberment that takes place is, however, handled well, and the sqeamish can still watch (trust me). The majority of the tension in the film is on a psychological level, keeping the audience on the edge of its seat for as long as possible.

Light relief is provided in the film in many subtle ways, from walking around a DIY store choosing tools to use in the disposal of the body, to the excellent Detective Inspector (Ken Scott) who certainly has a novel way of approaching the questioning of the 3 flatmates. This leads up to the thrilling finale, where we discover whether or not they will actually get away with it. Surely one of the best British films of the year.


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Screenings of this film:

1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1997/1998 Autumn Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)