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Shallow Grave (1987)

Ending up in a ditch with a flat tire and no spare is just the beginning of Sue Ellen, Patty, Cindy and Rose’s problems in the regional thriller Shallow Grave.

No, this Shallow Grave is not the well-respected but little seen Danny Boyle thriller.  This B-grade thriller is for cult enthusiasts who enjoy unexpected shots to the head, a shot-by-shot remake of the Psycho shower scene (with more T&A), and a killer who also happens to be the local sheriff of a small town in Georgia.  It’s grimy and suspenseful as four college coeds find their trip to Fort Lauderdale interrupted by . . . MURDER!

Shallow Grave and its hicksploitation isn’t for everyone.  There is a seediness to it all that will certainly make your skin crawl off your bones as you ride alongside the girls straight into the Hell of this small town.  There are so many red flags of warning that, when the killing begins, you just sort of die inside a little bit . . . especially when you see the dopy deputy (Tom Law) out “patrolling” the streets to make sure “everyone is where they should be” in this small town.  Justice is not something this town stands by.

Starring Lisa Stahl, Carol Cadby, Donna Baltron, Just Kelly, and Tony March as Sheriff Dean, Shallow Grave pulls a con job on the audience and opens as a typical slasher would.  Even as the girls joyride down the highway, the film follows what we have come to expect from the genre, especially by 1980s standards.  But, then, just at the halfway point, Shallow Grave goes from slasher to downright depressing as its director, Richard Styles, pulls the rug out from under the girls while they are in Medley, Georgia.  

One witnesses a murder.  Deep in the woods, Sue Ellen hears voices while peeing and goes to investigate.  Maybe they can help get her and the rest of the girls back on the road, you know?  She sees a man – after having sex with a woman (Merry Rozeile) – argue with her and then break her neck against the hard ground.  It is shocking and violent and leaves Sue Ellen running for her life.  She has to warn the others!

And that’s when the man grows wise to the eyes spying on him.  What follows is a deadly game of consequence as he, after dressing and pinning his sheriff’s badge back on, goes after all of the girls.  This is, after all, his town.  He can do what he wants.  Never-wracking and full of great suspense, Shallow Grave offers little in the way of hope for the girls as even the sheriff’s own paranoia seems destined to blow the hole shithouse up in flames! 

With one song playing over and over on the radio, Shallow Grave should make your skin crawl.  Everything about it is cheesy and sleazy, but it is effective horror as a psychotic sheriff takes the law into his own hands and throws everyone he suspects of knowing just what he’s done into a SHALLOW GRAVE.  

Never released legally on disc anywhere in the world, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to bring the criminally under-seen movie to Blu-ray, freshly restored from long believed lost 35mm elements alongside newly shot and illuminating interviews.  This special limited edition embossed slipcover (designed by Earl Kessler Jr.) is limited to 5,000 units and is only available here at VinegarSyndrome.com!

Date: February 5, 2022