Shallow Grave (1995)



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

Shallow Grave Videos

Shallow Grave Photos

Movie Info

In this black British comedy, set in modern Scotland, three odd people finally find a new roommate and must figure out what to do with him after he turns up dead. Tension runs high between the trio, and the story takes many serpentine turns before its resolution.
R (for scenes of strong grisly violence, and for some language and nudity.)
Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
PolyGram Video

Watch it now


Kerry Fox
as Juliet Miller
Christopher Eccleston
as David Stephens
Ewan McGregor
as Alex Law
Ken Stott
as Inspector
John Hodge
as Constable
John Bett
as Brian McKinley
Kenneth Bryans
as Senior Police Officer
Elspeth Cameron
as Elderly Woman
Tony Curran
as Salesman
Bill Denniston
as Master of Cermonies
Paul Doonan
as Newspaper Office Boy
Victor Eadie
as Freezer Victim
Grant Glendinning
as Bath Victim
Colin McRedie
as Cameron
Victoria Nairn
as Woman Visitor
Gregor Powrie
as Young Policeman
Billy Riddoch
as Editor
Gary Lewis
as Male Visitor
Frances Low
as Doctor
David Scoular
as Cash Machine Victim
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Shallow Grave

Critic Reviews for Shallow Grave

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (11)

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

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The three ... especially Fox--do well.

December 31, 1999
The New Republic
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Fox, McGregor and Eccleston merely mill around the screen like the kind of living-dead folks we usually see rising from the grave.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

[The characters] become less and less interesting as the movie progresses.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Shallow Grave


This debut from Danny Boyle is a tale of three dispassionate roommates who find their new flat mate dead with a whole lot of money in a suitcase, and a whole ton of cocaine. The rest of the film shows them turn on each other for a bid at the money, and the chance to walk away with everything. Because the characters are so flat and bitter, it makes the tension that much more unbearable. A pre-"Trainspotting" Ewan McGregor plays a cheeky narcissist named Alex, who seems to be the class clown, and the one who tries to make the fun last the longest. Christopher Eccelston is the gawky, forward thinking mate who falls into a fit of lunacy after facing the horrors of their plan. Kerry Fox is both unnaturally gorgeous and suspicious, making us unsure where her loyalty lies. As each seems to unravel at the seams, the tension mounts, as we watch them each hatch their successive plans, all the while keeping away the police. This is a great thriller, and a great start to Boyle's terse career.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


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.

Kase Vollebregt
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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Shallow Grave Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss Shallow Grave on our Movie forum!

News & Features