Shallow Grave

SHALLOW GRAVE. 1994

Director: Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Shallow Grave is a strange little comedy thriller that starts out lighthearted as three roommates in a big wonderful flat interview & humiliate a series of potential flatmates. When they select one, he moves in immediately, only to overdose in his room that very night. The three flatmates discover the fellow had a big suitcase full of lots of money.

It becomes thereafter the blackest of black comedies, but never loses sight of the fact that it is also a thriller.

Ewin McGregor plays the most annoying of the flatmates, though one comes to rather like him before the end. He thinks they should split the money but to do so, they'll have to get rid of all evidence that they ever had a fourth flatmate. The girl flatmate (Kelly Fox) quickly agrees; but staid & stuffy flatmate number three (Christopher Eccleston) takes some convincing.

In the worldview of McGregor's character, getting away with this will require hacking off the hands & feet of the corpse, busting up his teeth, & putting the bulk of the unidentifiable body in a shallow grave. They draw straws to see who will do the macabre assault upon the corpse, & staid conservative Eccleston gets the short straw.

The bloody grotesque act sort of loosens a couple of his screws, & now two of the flatmates have to deal with a paranoid madman who has locked himself in the attic crawlspace with the loot, a reluctance to share, & a willingness to kill to protect his crawlspace hideaway & the suitcase of cash.

This story runs it course very cleverly & wittily, to a "surprise" ending which even if you're not surprised is pretty damned great. For a story full of betrayal, murder, mayhem, madness & greed, it's all rather sweet. Very sick, but sweet.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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