"Shallow Grave" is an effective and mean-spirited horror thriller that falls in to the "city folk in backwoods peril" sub-genre.
The Plot: Four college girls are on a road trip to Fort Lauderdale get a flat tire in a small, Podunk town. They witness a murder in the backwoods and soon find themselves being hunted by the killer. They eventually make it to the authorities but it turns out the killer is actually the town's sheriff. Can the girls convince the deputy that the sheriff is the murderer? Or will they all be buried in a shallow grave?
"Shallow Grave" is an entertaining and underrated backwoods slasher...except the killer in "Shallow Grave" uses a gun instead of a knife. The sheriff isn't as one dimensional as most killers and is portrayed rather effectively as a "human monster". He shows signs of regret and remorse (a scene where he smells his dead lover's perfume) and even contemplates suicide at one point in the film. The acting is above average and the characters are likeable (you genuinely want the girls to survive!). The film opens with college girls jumping on their beds in their underwear while another big breasted co-ed takes a shower (where a "Psycho"-themed prank takes place). The opening didn't really jive with the rest of the film and seems a bit out of place. But the chick in the shower did have awesome tits, so it added something to the film...I guess.
Most of "Shallow Grave" takes place in daylight (something you don't see a lot of in 80's slashers) and the director stages some intense moments. Like a scene in which one of the girls and the killer are both in the same frame but neither notices the other. Or how a radio gospel plays during the forced-strip and strangulation scene. The film seems to have a mean-streak and the kills feel down right misogynistic! One girl even gets her head blown open in slow motion! The effects are all solid but there is little gore. On the negative side, the ending is abrupt and kind of lame. And the frat boys sub-plot is unnecessary. It's not a classic but it's worth checking out. One of the better "forgotten" films on 80's Horror Central.
"Shallow Grave" features sex in the woods, neck breaking, a dog mauling, strangulation by bra, voyeurism, and the same annoying country song continuously playing on the radio.