Shallow Grave film poster
|Directed by||Danny Boyle|
|Produced by||Andrew Macdonald|
|Written by||John Hodge|
|Music by||Simon Boswell|
|Editing by||Masahiro Hirakubo|
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
|Running time||92 minutes|
The production was funded by Channel 4 television and the film was distributed by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment who, as with their other releases, generated a large amount of publicity for the film on a limited budget.
David Stephens (Christopher Eccleston), a chartered accountant, Juliet Miller (Kerry Fox), a doctor, and Alex Law (Ewan McGregor), a journalist are three close friends who share a flat in Edinburgh. Needing a new flatmate, they interview several applicants before rejecting them with calculated cruelty, until they finally settle on the mysterious Hugo (Keith Allen). One day, after not having seen Hugo for some time, they break into his room to discover him dead of a drug overdose and in possession of a briefcase full of money. Over David's objections, Alex and Juliet agree to keep Hugo's death a secret and split the money among the three of them. They dig a shallow grave in the woods and agree to cut off Hugo's hands and smash his teeth in order to prevent identification. They draw straws and David is given the gruesome task of dismembering the body, an act which traumatizes him. Juliet disposes of the head and hands in a medical incinerator at the hospital where she works.
While Juliet and Alex begin to spend the money, David becomes increasingly paranoid, especially after the police come around asking about Hugo and his disappearance. Unbeknownst to the three friends, a pair of men are tracking Hugo across Scotland, torturing and killing his acquaintances in order to gain information. David's paranoia leads him to begin living in the flat's attic where he stashes the money for safekeeping and drills holes into the living space below to keep watch.
The two men tracking Hugo arrive at the flat and assault Alex and Juliet, demanding the money. David saves them, killing both men and the trio dispose of the bodies in the same way they did Hugo's. Alex and Juliet are more worried than ever about David's mental state and David becomes worried that the two are conspiring against him. Juliet seduces David, who always had a crush on her, in order to get access to the money, and the two make plans to leave the country together. Meanwhile she is also conspiring with Alex to do something about David. When David becomes suspicious he attacks Alex, resulting in a fight between the three of them where David stabs Alex with a kitchen knife before being killed by Juliet, who runs a knife through his throat. With David dead, Juliet pushes the knife even farther into Alex, pinning him to the floor and apparently killing him. She then flees to the airport with the briefcase. However, when she gets there, she discovers that the briefcase is filled not with money but with newspaper clippings. Knowing that she will be wanted for murder, she flees the country. Back at the flat, the police have arrived to find Alex, still pinned to the floor, alive. He had removed the money from the briefcase and replaced it with the newspapers. He smiles as the camera pans down to show the money hidden under the floor where he is impaled.
- Kerry Fox as Juliet Miller
- Christopher Eccleston as David Stephens
- Ewan McGregor as Alex Law
- Ken Stott as Detective Inspector McCall
- Keith Allen as Hugo
- Colin McCredie as Cameron
- Victoria Nairn as Visitor
- Gary Lewis as Visitor
- Jean Marie Coffey as Goth
- Peter Mullan as Andy
- Leonard O'Malley as Tim
The film is Ewan McGregor's first major film role, alongside Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox. The supporting cast is led by Keith Allen, Peter Mullan, and Ken Stott. It includes John Hodge, the film's writer, as one of the police detectives.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2011)|
Shooting for Shallow Grave lasted for thirty days. The tight budgetary restraints during filming meant many of the props had to be auctioned off for them to afford sufficient film stock.
Boyle claimed recently that Christopher Eccleston was so afraid of getting locked in a real-life mortuary for a scene, he had to ask a crew member to stand in the shadows and comfort the nervous actor.
There has been much discussion as to whether Alex is actually dead in the final scene and his laughter is imagined. However, Danny Boyle makes very clear in his commentary on the 2009 Special Edition DVD and 2012 Blu-ray that Alex is not meant to be dead. Boyle stresses that a line of Alex saying hello to the detective was actually added in post-production to hopefully clarify this fact.
Filming locations 
The crew shot predominantly in Glasgow rather than Edinburgh, which is where the story is set, since the Glasgow film fund gave them a £150,000 grant.
Locations in the film include:
- Flat 6 North East Circus Place, New Town, Edinburgh
- Hospital scenes were filmed at Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, Renfrewshire
- Dance scene Townhouse Hotel - 54 West George Street, Glasgow, Strathclyde
|Soundtrack album by Simon Boswell|
|Genre||Electronic, Jazz, Rock|
|Danny Boyle film soundtrack chronology|
Track listing 
- Leftfield – "Shallow Grave" – 4:38
- Simon Boswell – "Shallow Grave Theme" – 3:30
- Nina Simone – "My Baby Just Cares for Me" – 3:38
- Simon Boswell – "Laugh Riot" – 3:02
- Leftfield – "Release the Dubs" – 5:45
- John Carmichael Band – "Strip the Willow" – 3:12
- Simon Boswell – "Loft Conversion" – 5:45
- Simon Boswell – "A Spade, We Need a Spade" – 2:41
- Simon Boswell – "Shallow Grave, Deep Depression" – 4:49
- Simon Boswell – "Hugo's Last Trip" – 5:39
- Andy Williams – "Happy Heart" – 3:11
- "Variety Reviews - Shallow Grave". Variety. 17 May 1994. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Release". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Shallow Grave". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "www.boxofficemojo.com". www.boxofficemojo.com. 28 February 1995. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
- "The-Numbers.com list for Shallow Grave". Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- Williams, Karl. "Shallow Grave". Allmovie. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Contact Music - Boyle opens up Christopher Eccleston mortuary fears". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
- "What happens to alex at the end of shallow-grave". Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "Shallow Grave - Rotten Tomatoes. It won the BAFTA AWARD for Best Picture in 1995.". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2013-01-08.
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