Sharon Stone was an erotic thriller staple of the early 90s. She starred in what’s possibly the most famous erotic thriller film of all time, Basic Instinct. Basic Instinct was released in 1992 and this film came out the very next year. So I’m not sure if the filmmakers thought they could ride on that film’s notoriety and Sharon Stone, but whatever they thought was not correct. While Basic Instinct was interesting and had an actual plot plus sex appeal, Sliver only has the sex appeal. The plot is paper thin and there’s some truly laughable moments that aren’t meant to be laughed at.
Sharon Stone really is a good actress and has given great performances in films like Basic Instinct and Total Recall, but she’s straddled with this slog of a film. Her likability, energy, and movie star looks just aren’t nearly enough to save this thing. For what it’s worth though, Stone does the best she can for the majority of the time. The only critique of her performance is a moment in one sex scene where she goes over the top in a way that’s not convincing or fitting. One of the lesser known Baldwin brothers co stars with Stone, William Baldwin. I liked William in this role because yes he is very sexy here and is able to excel in the devilishly handsome male interest role. I’m not going to say “male love interest” because trust me they don’t engage in love here, he’s really a “male sex interest” and truth be told he does succeed at that.
The actual plot of Sliver is a literal sliver. There’s some kind of mystery going on with deaths that keep happening in the apartment building Stone’s character lives in. But to be honest, that isn’t interesting and the sex scenes are far more impactful. I know that doesn’t sound good but it’s true. I would have much rather seen a steamy romance film about these two. They have incredible onscreen chemistry and wow… those sex scenes though. They really know how to bring the heat and that’s important with any erotic thriller. Sliver only has half of the winning erotic thriller formula and that shortcoming becomes very evident as you’re watching. Relying on electric sexual chemistry to carry your film to the finish line is a LOSING strategy. While that is for sure important, actually having a plot substantial enough not to blow away in the wind is much more important.
The ending is to this film is a travesty… a literal disaster. I actually thought things might be leading somewhere for second. I was really hoping things would at least end on a strong note even if the majority of the rest of the film wasn’t good. But the build up that comes in the final scene doesn’t end up leading anywhere and the note it ends on is a comedic line that just doesn’t work. The ending only further proves why this thriller does not work.
Sliver is barely a thriller at all. It’s a perfect example of how much of a difference a well developed plot makes. No plot equals no film and that’s a lesson the writers of Sliver should’ve known. I think a steamy romance between Stone and Baldwin would’ve worked very well… that’s the film we should’ve gotten.