Shallow Grave

Danny Boyle’s first film, Shallow Grave foreshadows what is to come ahead for this innovative director. The story is about three flat mates who need to find a fourth in order to make their rent lower. They go interview several people, but don’t find anyone suitable. Suddenly a man shows up at their doorstep and he becomes the fourth flat mate. However there is something shady about this man. After barely moving in, the other flat mates find him dead. Freaking out, they think about doing several things, but it all disappears when they find a suitcase full of money. They decide to chop up and bury the man, so they could have the money for themselves. However, this man is a part of a mob situation and his “friends” come looking for him and the money. Of course along the way, one of the still alive flat mates goes crazy and starts killing people. The film disintegrates from there.

The best performance of the film has to go to Christopher Eccleston. He made this long before he became the Doctor on Doctor Who, but judging by this performance alone, I can see why the makers of that show decided to pick him. Christopher plays a young accountant who seems to be quite fragile, although he does have cruel side like his flat mates. When the decision comes up on who is going to chop up the man and bury him, he gets the short straw. As a result from this experience, he moves up into the attic, drills holes in the ceiling in order to spy on his flat mates and ends up killing intruders. This character is similar to Jack Nicholson’s character in the Shining. However instead of going big like Nicholson did, he plays the character as quiet as possible.

These characters are not good people. They only express grief over doing what they did when they think that someone is after them. They manipulate and scheme against each other. One sequence that I love in the film is when they are interviewing several candidates for their fourth room. The questions they ask are hilarious and mean and completely irrelevant to the situation.

I would recommend watching this film with the Shining. The two films make good companion pieces.


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