Shallow Grave

Shallow Grave (1994)

1 corrected entry

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Corrected entry: At the end of the film, Christopher Eccleston pins Ewan McGregor to the floor with a kitchen knife by driving it through his shoulder. The camera shows a shot of the knife coming out of McGregor's shoulder and going into the floor, but there is no blood on the knife.

Correction: Actually, in the ending where you can see the money there is blood on it which shows there is blood on the knife, and you can also see it drip off the knife.

Visible crew/equipment: Alex and Juliet are cavorting around filming themselves with their new camcorder. In the shot of Alex wearing a black plastic hat and shades you get a quick glimpse of a third person standing very still in the background also filming with a camcorder. It appears to be a tallish fair-haired man wearing a long-sleeved white shirt. Alex and Juliet are supposedly the only two people present, with Juliet holding their camera, so presumably it's a cameraman taking some extra footage from a different angle.

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Question: Is removing hands, feet and teeth really sufficient to prevent the corpses being identified? What about DNA?

Answer: Even with head, hands and feet removed, a lot about a person's identity can be determined from body scars, tattoos, body tissue and blood samples, etc. Sex, age, height, weight, body-fat content, race, hair color, and pre-death physical health can all be determined rather easily through traditional means, even given only a torso for examination. Once investigators have a general idea of identity, they can compare their findings to a missing persons database and narrow it down further to likely matches. Then they can request DNA samples from the families of likely missing persons and compare it to the DNA of the corpse. Of course, if the corpse was never reported as missing, that would bring the investigation to a dead-end.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: Identifying a body (or anyone for that matter) through DNA would only work if that person's DNA is already on file and you had something to compare it to (and getting a DNA match is an extensive process that doesn't happen over night despite what some TV shows suggest). I don't know about the UK, but in the US, federal DNA databases didn't really start until 1994. And only a few states started a felon DNA database in the 90's, so it's unlikely Hugo's DNA was on file. It's much more likely that a person's fingerprints or dental records were on file since they were much more common and not exclusive to felons. Again though, those records would have to be on file in order to compare to a body. I don't know if the feet removal was more for the dark comedy aspect or if they thought his feet print were on file and would be viable (i.e. prints taken when he was born in the hospital).

Bishop73

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