Review: Silly sex thriller ‘Deadly Illusions’ is a jumbled mess

Greer Grammer, left, and Kristin Davis in the movie "Deadly illusions."
(Kiss and Tale Productions)

Movies don’t come much clunkier than “Deadly Illusions,” an unconvincing mishmash of psychodrama and erotic thriller filled with silly plot holes, obvious dialogue, and risibly bad actions and reactions.

Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”) plays Mary Morrison, a supposedly bestselling author who, after a long hiatus, is coerced back into the book world by a megabucks offer from her needy publisher. Mary is resistant — something about strange things happening to her when she writes. But she’s coerced into the deal by her husband, Tom (Dermot Mulroney, what the heck are you doing in this?), who’s secretly made some bad investments and, well, they need the money (and also, apparently, a shiny Range Rover and a trophy house).

But pity poor Mary, who can’t juggle writing, mothering her twin son and daughter, and being a good wifey to Tom, so she hires a nanny — in an egregiously cursory way — to pick up the slack. Shocker: Mary’s doe-eyed, wide-eyed and unctuous new helper, Grace (Greer Grammer), may not be what she seems (“The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” anyone?) and Mary, stuck with writer’s block, a dubious work ethic, and a penchant for knocking off for skinny dipping, bra shopping and boozy dancing with the babysitter, soon finds herself in a series of satisfying Sapphic clinches with the sexy young Grace. But are these — and Tom’s seeming indiscretions — real or are they, well, “illusions?” And will they turn, er, “deadly?” Go ahead, guess.

There’s so much else wrong here but a few lowlights include: no one knows how old Grace is, much less anything else about her; we can barely tell what Mary’s new novel is about nor how it might connect to the weirdness she’s experiencing (and don’t get me started on her phony-baloney publishers); and why exactly does Mary smoke cigars, write her books in longhand and listen to music on vinyl? Does it say anything at all about her? (Hint: no.)

The whole superficial jumble, written and directed by Anna Elizabeth James, fully flies off the rails in the last act in a flurry of poorly staged and edited violence, convoluted reveals and a curious coda, all of which still leave much unexplained.


The movie will, however, teach you how to cut open an avocado.

'Deadly Illusions'

Rated: R, for sexual content/nudity, some bloody violence and language

Running time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Playing: Available on Netflix