Sliver: Unrated

Sliver: Unrated (1993)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Sharon Stone, William Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Martin Landau, Polly Walker

Following the success of "Basic Instinct", Sharon Stone took on another sex charged role in the 1993 urban thriller "Sliver". Thinking back on this film, you can't help but get a sense that filmmakers were simply trying to capitalize on the winning combination of raw sex, shocking violence and tawdriness brought fourth in "Basic Instinct". Also along for the ride and attempting to push the envelope even further this time around, is writer Joe Eszterhas, who penned the screenplay for both "Basic Instinct" and "Sliver". Why am I comparing the two films as the stories are by no means the same? It just seemed too obvious that those involved were merely trying to keep the formula going for yet another film, and what works for one film does not necessarily work for another as you soon discover when viewing "Sliver".

I did enjoy "Sliver" for what it was, but I always thought the ending felt a bit too rushed and the sometimes weaker dialogue could have been written better. If you are willing to put those faults aside, "Sliver" will present you with a slightly different twist on the "who-done-it" style thriller.

Taking residence in an exclusive high rise tower located in Manhattan, publishing executive Carly Norris (Sharon Stone) catches fellow tenants off guard as she bears a striking resemblance to the former tenant of the suite, one who just so happened to succumb to a rather suspicious death. Easily making friends with fellow neighbors, Carly soon strikes up a romance with the owner of the building, Zeke Hawkins (William Baldwin), which unknowingly moves Carly into his rather bizarre and voyeuristic world. When other tenants begin to surface as victims of foul play, the residents fear that there is a killer residing amongst them. Placing suspicions on overly confident successful novelist and fellow tenant Jack Landsford (Tom Berenger), while feeling that her new boyfriend Zeke could just as easily be involved in the murders, Carly becomes wrapped up in the mayhem and mystery that occupies this "Sliver" of Manhattan.

Paramount Home Entertainment shows us yet another fine example of their commitment to DVD with their recent transfer of "Sliver". Showcasing deep rich black levels and good color saturation, fans and the casual viewer are sure to be pleased. The image quality is well defined, with no distracting blemishes present. There are however, very minor dust specs here and there with the slightest introduction of fine grain in some scenes. This is minor at best and does not detract from the overall great exhibition of "Sliver".

One thing I want to point out is the original aspect ratio (OAR) for "Sliver". The DVD is listed at 1.85:1, yet upon exhibition you will notice that the presentation actually falls somewhere between 2.35:1 and 1.85:1. I have not been able to discover any additional information as to why this occurred during production.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix does a good job of highlighting the original score from composer Howard Shore (who has produced a variety of successful film scores, most notably the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Vocals are reproduced to appear natural in presentation with good use of all available channels that work to create a well balanced sound stage. Pairing nicely with the visual presentation, the audio for "Sliver" should easily impress.

Now for the special features…oh wait, there are none! This is where the DVD disappoints. "Sliver" might easily be dismissed by some, but the film does have a commendable fan base, one that waited more than a reasonable amount of time for the film to arrive on DVD. Would it have been so hard to add in a couple of extras for patient fans? I would even take a few theatrical trailers or the standard mini behind-the-scenes featurette that is so common on DVD these days over a "bare bones" edition. Not trying to rant here, it's just that I honestly expected a little more for the DVD debut of "Sliver".

Either you like "Sliver" for what it is, or you don't, end of story. For its low price, good transfer and well rounded soundtrack presentation, "Sliver" makes an easy purchase decision for fans that have been waiting for a DVD of the film.