Three flatmates, a dead body and a suitcase of money - the right ingredients for a savagely entertaining neo-film noir that introduced a stunned movie-going public to the dynamic partnership of director Danny Boyle, writer John Hodge, and producer Andrew Macdonald.
For the future brains behind "Trainspotting" and "The Beach", it was an auspicious debut which was much admired at the time and has been much imitated since. It also gave a young Scottish newcomer by the name of Ewan McGregor his first chance to shine in a starring role on the big screen. (Whatever happened to him?)
Set in Edinburgh though largely shot in Glasgow, the story begins with three cocksure 20-something professionals - doctor Juliet (Kerry Fox), accountant David (Christopher Eccleston), and reporter Alex (McGregor) - treating a succession of prospective flatmates to a merciless stream of abuse.
They finally give their spare room to Hugo (Keith Allen), a smooth stranger who promptly dies the next day. Beneath his bed sits the aforementioned suitcase - the catalyst for a brutal tale of murder, madness, and dismemberment.
Brilliantly combining Grand Guignol horror with gallows humour, shocking violence, and bold stylistic flourishes, "Shallow Grave" proved Quentin Tarantino didn't have the monopoly on dark crime capers. The script loses its way in the last third and the dialogue is a little arch, but these are small prices to pay in a movie that's not so much a thriller as a 90-minute adrenaline shot.
The team would reunite a year later for "Trainspotting" - but that's a different story.