What You Need To Know:
(H, LL, VVV, S, NN) Humanist worldview; 10 obscenities & 1 profanity; hands, feet & teeth removed from three bodies (off camera), man & woman beaten & tied up, man overdoses on drugs, intense torture, & multiple killings, including stabbings; fornication implied; and, brief male & female nudity & brief full frontal nudity of male corpse.
Set in an undisclosed English city, SHALLOW GRAVE weaves the grim tale of three roommates and friends who destroy each other over a large sum of found money. Looking for another roommate, David, Alex and Juliet settle on Hugo, who unbeknownst to them has recently robbed and killed a man at an automatic teller machine. A few days later, they find Hugo naked and dead, having overdosed on drugs. The plot thickens when the trio discovers a briefcase full of cash in Hugo’s room. Instead of calling the police, they decide to ditch the body and keep the money. As police close in, the roommates become suspicious of one another. Rising tensions result in David’s death, Alex’s arrest and Juliet’s escape, minus the cash.
While exploring the negative effects of greed is an interesting and worthy film topic, SHALLOW GRAVE does not succeed in its exploration and offers no hope of redemption. While technical aspects of the film are all very good, the excessive violence and general unpleasantness will put off even the most callused viewer. Many of the visual details of the violence is off-screen, however, the vivid sound effects are still present. The only apparent “moral” of this film is that no one can be trusted, a premise clearly illustrated as three likable characters degenerate into psycho-killers.