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Film / Sliver

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Sliver is a 1993 erotic thriller starring Sharon Stone, William Baldwin and Tom Berenger, with a screenplay 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.

This film provides examples of:

  • Apartment Complex of Horrors: An apartment complex is run by a voyeur who has installed remote hidden cameras in every apartment so that he can watch everyone at any time he wants, to the point where he can confirm to Carly that a stepfather is attempting to molest his stepdaughter, to moments of intimacy, to watching Carly masturbate in the shower.
  • Bathtub Scene: Carly soaks in the tub and pleasures herself.
  • Book Ends: Just before they have sex for the first time, Carly notices a volcano sculpture in Zeke's apartment and he idly comments about wanting to fly into one. In the original ending, when they marry, they honeymoon in Hawaii and the final scene is of them taking a helicopter flight over a volcano, accompanied by the same music from the previous scene.
  • 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?: Carly's friend, Vida, has a knack for this. She called Carly the morning after she first had sex with Zeke, and deduced that she had just from hearing her talking on the phone. And when Carly came in to work, Vida confirmed it by sight.
    Vida: You have been fucking your brains out.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jack acts like a creep throughout the film (and is eventually revealed to be the killer), but most of his warnings to Carly about Zeke turn out to be true.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Naomi and Carly bear a strong resemblance to Zeke's mother, offering a pretty creepy explanation for his attraction to them.
  • Literal Ass-Kissing: To Carly, during the first sex scene.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: During the final confrontation, Zeke taunts Jack about this, having learned it via spying on him and Naomi. This is actually foreshadowed when Carly's friend complains that despite taking her away for the weekend, Jack showed no interest in having sex with her.
  • 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.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: Zeke's surveillance room has these.
  • The Peeping Tom: Zeke, to nightmarish levels—cameras trained on every nook and cranny of every apartment in the building, capturing the residents in every action from the most mundane to the most private.
  • 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.
    • Right until the very end, the film seems to be hinting that the comparatively normal Zeke is the killer instead of the creepy, menacing Jack. In particular, the revelation that Zeke's mother died in a fall like one of the victims. Not until we see the footage of Jack pushing Naomi to her death do we learn for certain that Zeke's innocent. This is actually an accidental case, because in the original ending Zeke was the killer.
  • 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.
    • Carly and Naomi also bear a strong resemblance to Zeke's mother, possibly making them this to her as well.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Carly realizes she's a meaningless fling to Zeke after hearing him say to Vida and Naomi the same sweet nothings he said to her.
  • [Verb] This!: Carly says this before shooting out several monitors in Zeke's video room in retaliation for finding out he hid evidence of Naomi's murder.
    Carly: You like to watch? Watch this!
  • 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.

Get a life.