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Shallow Grave (1994)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 13

This black-humored thriller features characters who are more obnoxious than clever. During the second half, the movie descends into gratuitous violence.


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 5

This black-humored thriller features characters who are more obnoxious than clever. During the second half, the movie descends into gratuitous violence.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 39,247

My Rating

Movie Info

The feature film debut of Scottish director Danny Boyle was a dark, hip, Generation X comedy about a trio of Edinburgh roommates whose narcissistic greed fuels murder and betrayal. Boisterous journalist Alex (Ewan McGregor), flirtatious doctor Juliet (Kerry Fox), and meek accountant David (Christopher Eccleston) possess very different personalities, but the roommates are bonded in mutual, self-absorbed cynicism. Seeking a fourth boarder to share the rent for their stylish flat, they cruelly


Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

John Hodge

Dec 22, 1998

PolyGram Video

Watch It Now



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All Critics (50) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (13) | DVD (8)

Class has its place, but some of us prefer our cut-'em-ups a little more lowdown.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The situation is contrived, the relationships unlikely, the characters one-dimensional.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Since no reasonable person can remotely hope to identity with Juliet, David or Alex, the whole case drops through.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A reasonably enjoyable (for those captivated by this sort of thing) black comedy/noir thriller.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Boyle's cool manner and the performances ultimately ratchet Shallow Grave past the ranks of standard thriller fare.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A tight little thriller, filled with exhilarating twists, that quickly establishes its artistic contract with the audience.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I'm not surprised that in my youth I thought Shallow Grave was a pretty cool movie. What surprises me now is that the adults at the time gave this ridiculous movie a pass.

August 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

"Shallow Grave" is a story that goes from bad to worse to nasty during its duration. The performances are solid as you can never get a clear read on anyone's motives right until it's about to be revealed. One of the most solid debuts anyone could ask for.

July 20, 2012 Full Review Source:

While it is not a great film, it is a good first film, amply demonstrating Boyle's catchy visual flair and rat-a-tat sense of tempo, as well as Hodge's ear for dialogue and intuitive sense of character dynamics

June 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

At some point, ordinary human compassion must take up the slack. Boyle isn't a zippy enough director to make up for what's missing. No one is.

September 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

This stylish, exhilarating feature debut Scottish director Boyle shows impressive command over the film medium. It's new type of British film, more influenced by Tarantino and the Coen brothers than any British tradition--Boyle is a talent to watch.

February 1, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comment (1)

Impressive cast fails to redeem rather overrated movie.

September 27, 2005 | Comments (2)

Nasty, mean-spirited, and heartless--perfect qualities for a thriller.

July 11, 2005 Full Review Source:

Horrific fun!

October 11, 2004

Regardless of how one feels about the film, there's no denying that it's absolutely brilliant as a cinematic calling card.

September 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Smart and twisted with a nice ensemble.

August 19, 2004

An excellent little thriller!

June 26, 2004
Juicy Cerebellum

Bristles with excitement.

August 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A savagely entertaining neo-film noir.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source: BBC

Goes drastically wrong in the second half, deteriorating into a shrill horror flick dressed up in killer garb.

January 1, 2000
Jam! Movies

A few good moments, but you never truly connect with the main characters.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Cinematter

We end up with a Hitchcock-lite tale that has gratuitous violence a la Steven King or any slasher movie pasted on in place of a viable script.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Boyle's relentless homage to Hitchcock ... wears thin.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus

Loathsome people can make for absorbing entertainment, but after a while you may want to say: not today, thank you.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner | Comment (1)
San Francisco Examiner

Audience Reviews for Shallow Grave

Danny Boyle's debut film is incredibly taut and chilling. With dark undertones and great performances (McGregor does very well), Boyle creates a moody thriller with an engaging plot but maybe with too loose of an ending.
April 13, 2013
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Combine varying amounts of The Trouble With Harry with Blood Simple, and the result is something like this. Shallow Grave is the debut of maverick director Danny Boyle, and it's a pretty slick way to kick off a career.

The plot involves three self obsessed and rather cruel Edinburgh roommates who, after taking in a mysterious guy as their fourth tenant of their flat, find themselves in a world of trouble when the find him dead..with a big suitcase of cash under his bed. From there we are treated to a series of increasingly bad decisions, paranoia, and pretty messed up situations, all thanks to greed and man inhumanity toward his fellow man.

This is a really solid thriller that showcases Boyle's talent and trademark style and energy right from the get go. The film is absolutely pitch black with its offbeat humor, the cinematography and editing are kinetic and far from dull, and the twisty plot is a real delight to watch unfold.

None of the characters are really all that sympathetic, and normally I'd see that as a flaw. It is to an extent, but at the same time, it's also part of why the film works. We don't always need to be able to relate to everyone, and there really are people in this world as narcissistic and awful as our three leads.

Speaking of which, we get some fine performances from then pre-fame thespians Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston, and Ewan McGregor. They have a natural chemistry with one another, and tackle some tough material quite well.

The film does a lot of telegraphing of what Boyle would deliver later on, and that's cool. The film makes the most of its low budget, and proves to be quite a memorable piece of work that you should definitely check out.
March 24, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Unlikable characters, bad decisions, truly memorable dialogue and a biting mean-streak all amount to the classic dark comedy that is Danny Boyle's directorial debut. The unmistakable style and energy of his later work is on display and it's interesting in and of itself to see the ground zero of his filmic ambitions. Great performances and wicked final act make "Shallow Grave" a no brainer for any fan of Boyle's work and the genre.
January 17, 2013

Super Reviewer

An unsettling, well-made slice of horror meets drama concerning three roommates who find their newly fourth dead in his room with a suitcase full of money by his side. Instead of calling the police, they decide to do whatever they can to keep the money, even if it means disposing of the body in an inhumane way. Like most first features from great directors, Danny Boyle's first film is full of raw, unadulterated violence that is indeed very disturbing. While none of the characters are particularly that likable, the "Breaking Bad"-esque change in character that Christopher Eccleston's David undergoes is absolutely arresting, even if it is a bit of a stretch. While the film nearly loses itself in its final half, notably with a melodramatic conclusion, it still has a frenetic pace and paranoid atmosphere that makes it impossible to look away from. Not for all tastes, but certainly a memorable little movie that will not leave you quickly.
September 7, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Shallow Grave

    1. Alex Law: Tell me Cameron. Just tell me because I'd like to know. What makes you think that we would want to share an apartment with someone like you?
    – Submitted by Christian B (21 months ago)
    1. David Stevens: If you can't trust your friends, then what then? What then?
    – Submitted by Christian B (21 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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