Sliver is a sexy thriller that is neither sexy or at all thrilling. Filmed in the wake of the hugely successful Basic Instinct, Sliver has all of the elements but none of the passion. Call it Basic Instinct lite. Less filling without the great taste. Sharon Stone sleepwalks through her role of Carly. Carly works at a publishing house and has recently moved into one of New York’s plush apartment buildings. She was trying to ride her Basic Instinct wave here, but the truth is she has never really lived up to the pote…tial. William Baldwin tries at least a little harder as Zeke, who happens to own the building where tenants seem to end up dead, particularly young attractive women. Zeke loves to watch the private moments in his tenants’ lives. He is likely intended to represent the audience. Filling out the cast is Tom Berrenger as Alex, a self-absorbed writer who is obsessed with Carly. Martin Landau is underused as the fatherly owner of Carly’s company. Red herrings abound. Twists are nothing more than cheap thrills.
This “unrated” version promises scenes too hot for theatres. All you really get is a little more moaning from Sharon Stone and not anything remotely steamy. The final product is a film that will leave you unsatisfied whatever your intention going in. The new scenes serve simply to slow down an already hopelessly bogged down premise.
Sliver is not even presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is an awful hybrid size that fits awkwardly on a 16X9 screen. There is plenty of grain. Colors are always subdued, although I’m not sure if it is because of the incredibly bad lighting found throughout the film. Contrast is almost nonexistent. For a film that promises stimulating images, it’s evident that no one at Paramount thought to create a clean palate for them. No real loss, as there is nothing powerful about these images anyway.
Sliver sports a rather dull Dolby Digital 5.1 sound field. While my receiver verifies the mix, I can’t remember hearing anything at all come from the rear channels. The mix is as unimaginative as the film itself. There’s tons of dialogue which is clear in the center speaker. All the quiet moaning and whimpering seems to be centered as well. No sub action to be found anywhere. Yes, it’s all very clean. It’s also very mundane.
Nothing to see here either.
The only reason this film is being released at all on DVD is due to the pending arrival of Basic Instinct 2 in theatres. Paramount certainly makes that as clear as can be. There are no extras. The transfer is one of the poorest I’ve seen from them. I often ponder how a studio expects us to care about a film they show so little regard for themselves. I suggest you give this one the same amount of thought and attention they did: none. Sliver caters to the voyeur in us. As for me? “I want my own experiences.”