A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There is an overall message that crime ultimately don't pay, but the characters spend the majority of the movie living hedonistically without consequences.
Positive Role Models
The three main characters, Juliet, Alex, and David, are purposely unlikable and show no sense of morals or concern for people's feelings. Their behavior is selfish and childish, and they are willing to sacrifice others to get what they want. Criminals are represented as cold and brutal.
The main characters are wealthy, White, non-disabled people, with no attempt to show diversity -- even within the smaller roles.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters are punched, bitten, kicked, hit with heavy objects, and stabbed resulting in pools of blood. Dead bodies are shown, as are severed limbs. The sound of sawing through bone and a hammer knocking out teeth are heard. Scenes of torture include holding a character underwater and shutting someone in a freezer. A break-in sees characters tied up, with bags placed over their heads. A drill is held to a character's head. There is reference to suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full frontal male nudity is shown, though not in a sexual context. A female character is seen momentarily topless, also not in a sexual context. Characters flirt and in one instance a character seductively licks another's shoe.
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Occasional language includes "f--k," "f--king," "bastard," "crap," and "d--k."
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Products & Purchases
Money is discussed frequently. Characters spend money without thought on expensive items, such as camcorders.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters frequently drink alcohol, including champagne, wine, beer, and spirits. They also regularly smoke cigarettes and occasionally cigars. Reference is made to drugs, with syringes shown. But no drugs are taken on-screen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shallow Grave is a gripping crime thriller with violent scenes including torture, nudity, occasional strong language, and lots of drinking and smoking. Kerry Fox, Ewan McGregor, and Christopher Eccleston star as three young flatmates who discover a dead body and suitcase of banknotes. They steal the money and dispose of the evidence showing little concern or remorse. They behave in a hedonistic fashion throughout -- regularly drinking and smoking -- before paranoia begins to turn them on each other. There are violent scenes, including characters being stabbed to death, with pools of blood, and the sound of sawing through bone and smashing teeth with a hammer. Strong language includes repeated use of the word "f--k." While there is occasional humor, the tone is very dark, and the characters unlikable, operating in a world without an ethical framework, which is likely to be unsuitable and upsetting for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In this edgy directorial debut, Danny Boyle introduces some of the dark comedy and visual flair that saw his reputation firmly cemented two years later with Trainspotting. Offering up such unlikable characters without apology is a risky move, but one that Shallow Grave manages to pull off. All three performances are spot-on, Fox in particular shining in a comparatively underwritten part. Set mostly inside their apartment, a claustrophobic atmosphere helps heighten the tension, as the friends begin to toy with each other, with the power constantly shifting between them.
Boyle never wastes a frame, keeping the pace fast and unusually light, given the grisly subject matter. The film is thick with gruesome touches and moments of fleeting humor, its soundtrack foreshadowing the way music would become celebrated in Trainspotting. The disconnect between what's going on on-screen and songs such as Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares For Me only adding to the characteristically fiendish wink that Boyle throws the audience's way.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.