Friday, June 4, 2021

Deadly Illusions Review: A Psychological Erotic Thriller That Goes Off The Rails

Release date: June 1, 2021
Running time: 114 minutes
Written and Directed By: Anna Elizabeth James
Starring: Kristin Davis, Greer Grammer, Dermot Mulroney, and Shanola Hampton

A bestselling female novelist Mary Morrison (Kristin Davis), suffering from writer's block, hires an innocent yet beautiful caregiver Grace (Greer Grammer) to watch over her children as she dangerously indulges into the fantasies of her new best seller. Everything changes when Mary becomes spellbound by Grace who soon becomes her muse. As their relationship blossoms, the line between the life she's writing and the one she's living becomes blurred. 

Deadly Illusions is a psychological erotic thriller.  And the main draw of this film is the great cast: namely Kristin Davis and Greer Grammer.  I really enjoyed seeing Kristin Davis back on screen and it was fun to see her as a successful troubled writer.  I also liked the family dynamic in this film, with Davis's character being the breadwinner in the family.  And when Grace is introduced, the whole social dynamic changes drastically.  It is fun to see Mary take Grace under her wing and some of their interactions feel very motherly.  Deadly Illusions also fulfills its psychological aspect of the psychological erotic thriller with a good sense of unease as you watch the real and imaginary blur together.  After the film's initial opening, it starts to get interesting as you begin to question the characters and their intentions as the film introduces some subtle sinister aspects.  And that is due a lot to Greer Grammer's performance.  She is able to switch from innocent to sinister quickly and seamlessly.

However, the film does have a somewhat generic lifetime movie feel.  There are some good moments of thriller in here, but the opening itself is rough with some mixed delivery and inconsistent build up.  Some scenes feel like they end quickly or are cut too early, losing some of the underlying drama.  And the film sometimes has a robotic character to the delivery, like the characters are reading a script rather than performing.  It is not overtly distracting but it is just enough to make this feel off.  Also, the robotic quality can translate to the emotions and sometimes the situations.  I'm not sure if this was intentional but regardless, it was distracting.  And the movie's plot moves at a steady pace but goes off the rails towards the end.  It is also where the big reveals happen so maybe they go hand in hand, but it does feel like the film goes for a big surprise ending.  This results in an ending that does surprise, but also feels jumbled and unsatisfying.  

Deadly Illusions has a great cast and some sinister thriller aspects, but some distracting delivery and a story that goes off the rails make this not a page turner. 

Pass on it.

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 Deadly Illusions is available on Netflix, and is available digitally and on demand on June 1, 2021.  

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