My 100 Scariest Moments challenge was almost thwarted when I rechecked my Netflix queue to ensure that the few remaining movies I had left to review, were nestled at the very top of the list. It was to my great dismay that Shallow Grave had been moved to the dreaded Saved list. A list that is responsible for some of the greatest confusions and disappointments my life has ever seen. These DVDs are available you know, so why on earth can you not stock them in your towering DVD warehouse? My sister was able to get Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveler for Christ's sake, what the hell is your problem Netflix? Never one to settle for disappointment- I immediately remedied the situation and bought the movie for a few dollars on good old Half.com (Which one of you lucky readers will WIN when my contest happens. Soon my friends. Soon.) and the rest is history.
Danny Boyle wins over many people's hearts- whether they be; drug addicts, infected faux zombie lovers and even slumdogs, so it was no surprise that I would most likely be enjoying Shallow Grave. It has that hottie Ewan McGregor for crying out loud! Of course they really tricked me on that one when I discovered that hottie Ewan McGregor looked like a close relative of Budnick from Salute Your Shorts.
Sick! Regardless, Shallow Grave is a decent thriller/dark comedy/murder paranoia mystery or whatever these kinds of movies are called these days, your guess is as good as mine really. The point is- I had never heard of this movie and look at me now, recommending it for your sleepovers and lonely nights on the couch. Not a horror movie of course, but just a solid, wacky, witty kind of movie. You know- the kind most people love.
Our story follows the lives of three roommates looking for a 4th to fill the void of their outrageously spacious and nice apartment. I found myself filled with the same kind of jealously that I get when watching Friends. Why are these people living in such a nice place- and how can they possibly be having that much fun? It's all very mysterious....but anyways, they find a 4th, he seems also mysterious, and after he doesn't come out of his room for a long while, they kick in the door. There they find his dead body and a suitcase filled to the brim with pounds and pounds of Pounds. Making a hasty group decision- they keep the money and get rid of the man's body, sawing off the hands and feet, removing the teeth and placing him in a grave--a SHALLOW grave because Ewan McGregor is lazy. While they attempt to get back to their regular lives- things start happening, rifts in friendships, suspicions, and a couple of really brutal thugs. See, I knew they couldn't possibly have fun all the time.
What I found to be most thrilling, was the very presence of anxiety and suspicion. I remember once having a dream where I knew I had done something wrong, but continued to run despite the consequences. A feeling that fills you up with such an unbearable amount of unease that it almost becomes difficult to watch. Watching David's descent into madness and paranoia is just as thrilling and as anxiety provoking. The poor lad did of course draw the short straw, meaning that he would have to be the one to saw off the hands and feet and knock out the teeth. And while he was put through all that- whiny Ewan McGregor couldn't even dig a deep enough grave!? I suppose if we are to sympathize with anyone in this, it must be David, but in the end we begin to fear him as well. It was a curious feeling, almost wishing that our main character's would just get caught already!
The scene where David does the dirty work is actually kind of hard to watch, which is extremely surprising seeing as we are not even given a single look at the gore of what surely is happening. It is undoubtedly a less is more kind of technique and it completely works. Also shockingly brutal are the scenes with the thugs and what they do even after they get their answers. Then of course the ending scene, which was eye widening mad! Just mad I tell you. But fantastic. Also not to be missed are some great symbolic instances of color! Red is prominent and striking, and although it is not beautiful, it is still a delight.
Someday when Netflix puts this back in their warehouse, I will encourage you all to give it a watch. It will do it's duty in fulfilling your need for entertainment, while also causing you to become very suspicious of your friends and roommates...
Oh, yes. I believe in friends. I believe we need them. But if one day you can't trust them any more, well, what then... What then?