Film: Sliver

Sliver is a 1993 erotic thriller starring Sharon Stone, William Baldwin and Tom Berenger, with a screenplay written by Joe Eszterhas based on a novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The film was directed by Phillip Noyce, previously known for such films as Blind Fury (1989) and Patriot Games (1992).

Carly Norris (Stone) is a successful book editor. She has recently come out of a bad marriage and goes apartment hunting. She finds her dream apartment in the Sliver building. She gets to meet new love interests in thriller novelist Jack Lansford (Berenger) and her landlord Zeke Hawkins (Baldwin). Zeke introduces her to new erotic thrills. First to the joys of exhibitionism, by having her remove her panties in a crowded restaurant and place them on the table. Second to the joys of voyeurism. He has placed surveillance cameras and microphones in every apartment of the building, since he likes to spy on other people. Carly soon gets addicted to observing others peoples' lives.

But all is not well within the Sliver building. A number of recent "suicides" and lethal "accidents" point to a killer being on the loose. And her love interests are the prime suspects. Carly has to find out the truth before she suffers an "accident" of her own.

Sliver was not particularly well-received. It features some memorable erotic scenes, an interesting take on voyeurism and an impressive soundtrack (featuring UB 40's chart-topping cover of "Can't Help Fallin' in Love"). But the excuse plot for all that is poorly written and the acting leaves much to be desired. Reviews both then and now are mostly damning. The film got nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards, though it won none of them. On the other hand, the film was a modest box office hit. It earned an estimated 116 million dollars in the worldwide market. About 36 million of those dollars came from the United States market, where it was the 43rd most successful film of its year.

Tropes

  • Bathtub Scene: Carly soaks in the tub and enjoys A Date with Rosie Palms.
  • Creepy Good: Although he doesn't use his video footage to expose Jack as Naomi's killer, Zeke does use his footage to call paramedics for a resident who fell in the shower, and he confronts a man whom he caught sexually abusing his daughter.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: "You have been fucking your brains out."
  • Erotic Film
  • He Knows Too Much: Implied to be the reason behind several deaths.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat
  • Literal Ass Kissing: To Carly, during the first sex scene.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Several of the deaths are thought to be accidents or suicides.
  • Naughty Birdwatching: The point of the whole movie.
  • Playing Against Type: A year after playing a murderous, manipulative, Anything That Moves Depraved Bisexual in Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone was now playing a very sexually repressed Damsel in Distress.
  • Red Herring: The supposedly Dirty Old Man who takes an interest in Carly is actually a perfectly decent guy. The reason he can't stop staring at her and even seems to be following her around for a while is because he's so flummoxed by her resemblance to Naomi.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Carly's eerie resemblance to Naomi, who was murdered in the film's prologue, makes her this to Jack and Zeke, to creepy lengths of an already ominous trope—she's living in the dead woman's apartment and both men appear to be transferring their previous obsession onto her particularly frightening as one of them is almost certainly her killer and looking to repeat his actions.
  • Unrated Edition: an early example.
  • Vigilante Man: Since exposing crimes caught on his footage would ruin his voyeurism racket, Zeke deals with the man he caught molesting his daughter himself. It could be argued his self-defense killing of Jack could also be veiled vigilantism, as it's later revealed he caught Jack murdering Naomi.
  • Wall Bang Her: It's more like "Column Bang Her", but it's how one of Zeke and Carly's sex scenes play out.