‘Deadly Illusions’ is an engaging psychological thriller that follows the life of Mary Morrison, a successful author. Mary is pressured into taking up a writing assignment because of her husband’s financial misadventures. She took a hiatus to care for her family—with new work on the horizon, Mary hires a nanny for her twins. With the advent of the nanny in her life, the situation starts to get seductively dangerous.
Mary tries to project her sexual desires onto the nanny and makes her a muse. However, the nanny’s intentions are not the best as her murky past comes to the forefront. A delectable thriller with an homage to classic tropes, ‘Deadly Illusions’ is a must-watch. We decided to prepare a list of similar movies that resonate with the thriller. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Deadly Illusions’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
6. Secret Window (2004)
‘Secret Window’ is a psychological thriller drawn straight from the pages of Stephen King’s ‘Secret Window, Secret Garden.’ It follows the story of an author Mort (Johnny Depp), who is heartbroken after he catches his wife having an affair with another person. As he isolates himself, a person arrives at his place, accusing him of plagiarism. Mort tries to navigate through the happenings, unaware of a revelation that will change his life completely. The film has similar plot points like ‘Deadly Illusions,’ and most importantly, it delves into the psyche of a writer through the lens of suspense. If you are intrigued by Mary’s dubious presence, ‘Secret Window’ will surely delight you.
5. My Daughter’s Keeper (1991)
Directed by Heinrich Dahms, ‘My Daughter’s Keeper’ is a gripping tale of revenge and seduction. An American writer staying in England decides to take his family on a trip to South Africa. His wife is a reporter by profession and is busy with an assignment. The family hires a nanny who soon starts a relationship with the writer—their bond becomes a case of fatal attraction when the nanny refuses to back down. The writer is at his wit’s end as he refuses to leave his wife for the nanny. Just like ‘Deadly Illusions,’ the film explores the dark side of desires and expectations that slowly turn into a morbid fallacy.
4. Basic Instinct (1992)
Creators of ‘Deadly Illusions’ proclaimed that their inspiration came from Paul Verhoeven’s masterful erotic thriller ‘Basic Instinct.’ Moreover, the protagonist of both films are writers who are engrossed in the narrative they create. The elements of the erotica in ‘Deadly Illusions’ have a clear parallel with ‘Basic Instinct’ with the character of femme fatale taking centerstage. Even though the plots of the two film might vary, ‘Basic Instinct’ can be viewed as the precursor of the elements that makes Anne Elizabeth James’ work an interesting watch.
3. Bad Influence (1990)
A Curtis Hanson film, ‘Bad Influence,’ features James Spader as a socially awkward professional named Michael, who meets a young woman that forces him to explore his dark sides. Their friendship slowly starts to become toxic, as Michael becomes desperate to break free from it. The film is an intense exploration of the human mind’s machinations and its capability to pervade the dark side. ‘Bad Influence’ is similar to ‘Deadly Illusions’ as both the films walk through the inner workings behind a glossy visage. The underlying theme of ‘Deadly Illusions’ is brought to the forefront by Hanson’s film wrapped in elements of erotica.
2. Tenebrae (1982)
This film on the list might seem like a far-fetched deduction, but the Giallo aesthetics of ‘Tenebrae’ is ensconced subtly in the narrative of ‘Deadly Illusions.’ The recurring imagery of a disembodied hand wielding a knife is drawn from the Giallo films. Directed by the Italian maestro Dario Argento, ‘Tenebrae’ features an author whose book seems to induce a murderous nature among its readers. He has to conduct his own investigations into the matter as he feels partly responsible. Interspersed with some gory scenes, ‘Tenebrae’ is replete with plot twists and erotica that will keep the viewers hooked to their seats. If you loved the tension in ‘Deadly Illusions,’ then this Italian classic should be on your watch list.
1. The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992)
Another Curtis Hanson film, ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,’ is similar to ‘Deadly Illusions’ on many levels. The plot follows a family hiring a babysitter for their newborn. Soon, the intentions of the nanny are revealed to be dangerous. It follows the story of an obstetrician’s wife who suffers a miscarriage after her husband’s death. The doctor is accused of sexual misconduct that leads him to the path of suicide. His wife poses as a nanny and infiltrates the life of one of the accusers of the sexual misconduct. The film’s atmosphere is similar to the happenings of ‘Deadly Illusions’ and situates itself firmly in the annals of a psychological thriller.
Read More: Where Was Deadly Illusions Filmed?