At a time when sex is seriously lacking from our screens, Adrian Lyne’s Deep Water promised a return to form. Amidst the sanitised himbos of the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, we were given erstwhile romantic interests, Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas, from the director who delivered 1987’s Fatal Attraction — arguably one of the best erotic thrillers in recent memory. It is Lyne’s first film in two decades, and following many delays, was finally released on Amazon Prime Video last week. The reaction has been mixed at best — understandably, because not only is there very little on-screen action, or (surprisingly) chemistry, the hole-laden plot fails to land, or even take off.
Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name, Deep Water follows married couple Vic (Affleck) and Melinda (De Armas) as their relationship unravels in the face of Melinda’s extramarital affairs, which she brazenly dangles in front of her long-suffering husband. There’s a missing former lover and a spate of murders, so sure, it has all the elements for a solid thriller, but without the required pacing to make it a truly engaging watch.
Still, when it’s hard to find anything that’s rated higher than a PG-13, it certainly whets your appetite for something saucier than what’s currently available on streaming platforms. So, if you’ve watched Affleck and De Armas fail to get it on in Deep Water and are now looking for the best of the erotic thriller genre, here are our top picks…
Eyes Wide Shut — Stanley Kubrick’s final film is a psychosexual journey through the marriage of Dr Bill Hartford and Alice (portrayed by the one-time couple, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) after the former is shocked to discover that his wife considered having an affair a year earlier. Bill proceeds to embark on a night-long adventure where he infiltrates a masked orgy of an unidentified secret society — and quickly realises that he is way over his head.
Basic Instinct — Known for a notorious nude scene involving an unconsenting Sharon Stone, Paul Verhoeven’s neo-noir thriller stars Stone as Catherine Tramell, a bisexual crime novelist and femme fatale whose boyfriend ends up murdered. Investigating the homicide is detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), whose loyalties become divided when he is seduced into an intense relationship with Tramell.
Don’t Look Now — This British horror, which is remembered producing one of film’s most controversial sex scenes, sees John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) portray a married couple who travel to Venice following the accidental death of their daughter. There, they encounter two sisters, one who claims to be psychic and informs them that their daughter is trying to contact them from the grave…
Fatal Attraction — Family man, Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) throws his life into disarray after having a brief fling with book editor, Alex (Glenn Close). Feeling rejected by Dan, Alex’s disappointment turns into an all-out obsession as she stalks her former lover, and his family, to within an inch of their lives.
Lust, Caution — The highest-grossing NC-17 rated film of all time, Lust, Caution, depicts a group of Chinese university students who plan to assassinate a high-ranking special agent by using a young, attractive woman to lure him into a honey trap.
Bound — In the Wachowskis’ directorial debut, Violet (Jennifer Tilly) tries to escape her mafioso boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and by and by enters into a steamy affair with an ex-con, Corky (Gina Gershon). They then together hatch a plan to steal $2 million of Mafia money.
Body Heat — Known for launching Kathleen Turner’s career, Body Heat takes place during a Floridian heatwave as Matty Walker (Turner) convinces her lover Ned Racine (William Hurt) to murder her wealthy husband.
Body Double — A homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s canon, Brian De Palma’s Body Double sees struggling actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) witness the murder of a woman while using a telescope to peer into people’s homes. His search for answers leads him through the adult entertainment industry, with porn star, Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) acting as his tour guide.
The Handmaiden — South Korean erotic psychological thriller, The Handmaiden, stars Kim Tae-Ri as an orphaned pickpocket, who in cahoots with a con-man (Ha Jung-Woo), conducts a complex plot to trick a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-her) out of her fortune.