It seems everyone right now is talking about Deadly Illusions: a soapy, ridiculous, Netflix thriller starring Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney, and Greer Grammer. The plot is very Fatal Attraction meets The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
Davis plays Mary, a retired best-selling author who has to churn out another book after her husband, Tom (Mulroney), makes a bad business deal. That means they need to hire a full-time nanny to look after their young twins. Enter Grace (Grammer), a woman who Mary thinks is from a prestigious childcare service, but it turns out—well, actually, I won’t say anything specific yet. Let’s just say Grace isn’t who you think she is.
Which is a pervasive theme throughout the movie. As Mary dives deeper and deeper into her novel, the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. Did Grace actually just go down on Mary in the study after they went for a swim? And then seduce Mary in the bath tub? And then seduce Tom in the kitchen while he’s blindfolded? (Did she really call him a “bad boy”?!) Yes, these are real scenes that happen in the movie—but whether or not they are reality is the debate.
And that debate isn’t resolved—not clearly or fully, at least. I finished Deadly Illusions with way more questions than I did answers. If I had to narrow down the two biggest mysteries in the film, I’d say: (1) Why would a modern-day best-selling author write the first draft of her new book with pen and paper like a Victorian scribe? And: (2) Who the hell is walking out of the hospital at the very end?!
Let’s break down that second question. At the end of the movie, it’s revealed that Grace is, in fact, a killer. The implication is she’s suffering from mental health issues stemming from childhood trauma, but it’s addressed in such a problematic, exploitative way, I don’t even want to go there fully. All you need to know is Grace is the “villain.” She’s the one who murdered Mary’s best friend, Elaine (Shanola Hampton), then tried to frame Mary for it. She’s the one who stabbed a bare-assed Dermot Mulroney in the shower. All those aforementioned seduction scenes probably did happen, but who’s to know for sure? The only sure thing is Mary realizes Grace is putting her family in danger.
So a scuffle between the two of them unfolds, which ends with Mary’s family surviving and Grace going to a mental institution. In the final scene of the movie, Mary visits Grace (the whole attempted-murder thing water under the bridge), and the two play cards. Then the camera pans to a woman, presumably Mary, leaving the hospital. But is it Mary? She’s wearing sunglasses, a scarf over her head, and a long coat—much like what Grace wore when she was sneaking into Elaine’s office to kill her. (That’s how she was able to fool the cops into thinking it was Mary.) So…did Grace murder Mary in the hospital, then leave in disguise? Is it just Mary, but the movie ends ambiguously for unknown reasons? Where the hell is the hospital security in any of these scenarios? What is happening?
I’m not the only one confused. “Wait, what the hell was with the Deadly Illusions ending?” one person tweeted. Another added, “Have you guys watched Deadly Illusions? WTF was that ending? I have so many questions?”
Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be getting answers any time soon. Kristin Davis hasn’t said a peep about Deadly Illusions on social media, and Grammer, a producer on the film, started her Instagram post about it like this: “Welp! The movie dropped on Netflix yesterday and all I can say is 🙈😬😈.”
“Welp?!” I’m not sure if the people involved in this project are trying to downplay it or what, but at publish time, Deadly Illusions was the number one title on Netflix. Number! One! People are demanding explanations, myself included. Until I get some, I’ll just be sitting around my apartment, wondering in earnest about everything I just wrote—and also why Mary smokes no less than eight cigars in this movie. Cigars!
Deadly Illusions is now streaming on Netflix.
Christopher Rosa is the entertainment editor at Glamour. Follow him on Instagram @chris.rosa92.