A woman moves into an apartment in Manhattan and learns that the previous tenant’s life ended mysteriously after they fell from the balcony.
haron Stone followed up her tremendous hit Basic Instinct (1992) a year earlier with this erotic psychological thriller. The film’s muddled and disjointed plot, especially its hastily-altered ending and the identity of the killer, was due to a last-minute Joe Eszterhas rewrite and reshoot demanded by the studio. An unrated version was released incorporating the full width of the frame and therefore was more revealing. In the R-rated version that had bloated, cropped closer-up images, much more was obscured.
It was a popular Razzie Awards honoree with seven nominations:
Worst Actor (William Baldwin)
Worst Actress (Sharon Stone)
Worst Director (Phillip Noyce)
Worst Screenplay (Joe Eszterhas)
Worst Supporting Actor (Tom Berenger)
Worst Supporting Actress (Colleen Camp)
Stone starred as mid-30s, New York publishing house book editor Carly Norris, a recent divorcee in a non-femme fatale role who was introduced to a world of kinky and seamy thrills by the voyeuristic building owner and game designer Zeke Hawkins (William Baldwin) of her upscale Manhattan high-rise East Side apartment building named Sliver.
From a high-tech videocamera’s point of view, she was secretly and voyeuristically watched as she masturbated in her bathtub, recorded by Zeke’s hidden cameras. She and all the other tenants were viewed in Zeke’s control room of banks of TV monitors. After a gym workout, they shared beers in his apartment. She claimed that she had to go, but couldn’t resist him, and they were soon making love, with Carly in her black bra (and pantyless) grinding against Zeke’s straddled lap. Little did she know that he was recording their coupling. The camera took a top view of their sexual intercourse. Later as they watched the tape of their love-making together, he fondled her breast.
During the film’s major sexual encounter, while they were having a fancy dinner, he dared her to reveal part of her breast, and then to remove her black panties from under her black dress (she declared: “I win, you lose” after presenting him with her underwear). She alluringly wet her finger, then shortly later they fondled and kissed each other in the elevator on the way to his floor – # 13 (“an unlucky number”). He handed back her panties: “Put these on. I wouldn’t want you to catch a draft.” She replied: “I’m OK. I’m pretty warm down there.” Although they parted at the elevator, she decided to enter his apartment (with an open door), where Zeke greeted her with his bare butt in full view as he walked over to Carly. In front of rain pouring down on the windows behind them, he grabbed her from behind, threw her against a column, and proceeded to take her from the rear – as she almost climbed the column during the mounting passion. Afterwards, she commented: “Damn you, you left the door open.”
Later in the film’s conclusion, she discovered his control room with multiple TV monitors. She held a gun on Zeke, and threatened him, believing he was a killer: “You like to watch? Watch this!” She shot out a few of the TV screens. As he approached, he tried to explain and have her hand over the gun: “These women meant nothing to me. It was just sex, Carly. I love you. That was the past. What we had was so powerful, Carly, can’t you feel it? It was so good. You can tell, can’t you?”
At that climactic moment, one of the screens played back a revealing and incriminating scene. It showed that sleazy writer Jack Landford (Tom Berenger), another apartment resident, was the jealous killer who had thrown Carly’s previous 33 year-old apartment tenant Naomi Singer (Allison Mackie) from her 20th floor apartment balcony. Carly shot out and blasted the remainder of the entire system, then delivered the film’s final line to Zeke: “Get a life!”
[Note: Evidence from videotapes showed that sexually-exploitative Zeke had recorded himself having sex with both of the complex’s murder victims before their deaths, Naomi and British neighbor Vida (Polly Walker), but he wasn’t their killer. However, he knew of the murders, but because he didn’t wish to divulge the existence of his complex surveillance system, he didn’t report them.]