Director – Richard Styles (Midnight Tease II, Sorceress II: The Temptress)
Starring – Tony March (Ghoulies IV, Demolition High), Lisa Stahl (Sliders, Invasion U.S.A.), and Tom Law (Masterblaster, Mr. Wonderful)
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Every month when Vinegar Syndrome announce their new releases I’m always caught off guard by the titles they deliver to fans. You can speculate all you want about what they will release but you will never truly know until they officially announce it. Each and every month when they announce their releases I always find myself drawn to one release. Either the title, artwork, or cast catches my eye and I become fixated with it until I finally watch it.
When Vin Syn released Shallow Grave it became the film that I was looking forward to the most. I loved the original poster and the new blu artwork for the film. Those are the two things that really peaked my interest but once I read the synopsis I was sold on it.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows four Christian college students who are traveling through Georgia on their way to Florida for break when they encounter a flat. They split up where one walks into town looking for help and another goes into the woods to relieve herself when she witnesses a man and woman who just finished having sex. They begin bickering and then the man kills the woman. The young girl panics and hides. After some time the other two go into the woods looking for her when they encounter the murderer trying to hide the bodies and opens fire on them killing one in the process. He eventually kills the other one leaving just two of them alive. They are arrested soon after by they town deputy and once they meet the town sheriff they realize who the murderer is and their lives are on the line. **Spoiler Alert**
Shallow Grave is not a brutal or bloody horror film but it does work as a late 80s genre effort. It flows more like a made for television dark drama than a horror tale but I still enjoyed it for what it’s worth. Hell, if you cut out the nudity it would have been a great cable flick.
The acting in this one is very well done. The characters are exactly what I was expecting and it seems like the cast has a lot of fun in their roles. We have a mix of small town yocals and Christian school party girls which doesn’t clash like you would expect. They are very cliched characters but I love how the cast brought them to life. They are very enjoyable and it’s a damn shame most of this cast didn’t find themselves in other genre releases.
The story for this one follows a man killing a woman in a heated moment resulting in more bodies turning up as he tries to cover it up. It’s has a small body count but not as violent as most horror efforts. However, it’s the “what’s going to happen next” that pulls the viewer in. You are hung up on whether or not the killer is going to get the surviving women. It’s well written but more horror elements could have been thrown in. Hell, it could have been an unforgettable slasher if it was just written a little differently.
Finally, the film has some blood, a few boobs, but that’s the extent of it. If you are looking for some wild gore and awesome effects that correspond with the shallow graves aspect of the film then you will be very disappointed. Overall, Shallow Grave is a mild horror effort from Vin Syn but it’s one that I greatly enjoyed. It’s not a bloody or gory mess like most of the films I review but I enjoyed the story and could see myself spinning it several more times before I become tired of it. Vin Syn fans will want to snag this one for sure. It’s worth every penny.
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from 35mm vault elements
Brand new commentary track with director Richard Styles
Commentary track with The Hysteria Continues!
“Looking For Magic” – an interview with director Richard Styles
“A Visual Storyteller” – an interview with writer/producer George Edward Fernandez
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles