Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A brutal murder. A brilliant killer. A cop who can't resist the danger. Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone co-star in this thriller about a man who finds within himself an instinct more basic than survival. [Artisan]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 28
  2. Negative: 9 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Grade-A pulp fiction. This erotically charged thriller about the search for an ice-pick murderer in San Francisco rivets attention through its sleek style, attractive cast doing and thinking kinky things, and story, which is as weirdly implausible as it is intensely visceral.
  2. 75
    The film is for horny pups of all ages who relish the memory of reading stroke books under the covers with a flashlight. Verhoeven has spent $49 million to reproduce that dirty little thrill on the big screen.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Oct 15, 2014
    Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct is a slick, trashy, blatantly manipulative thriller that you won't stop watching once you start. [20 Mar 1992, p.25]
  4. Despite (or maybe because of) his obligatory nods to Hitchcock, this is slick and entertaining enough to work quite effectively as thriller porn, even with two contradictory denouements to its mystery (take your pick--or rather, your ice pick).
  5. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    The worst things about Basic Instinct, though, are the explicit "love" scenes. They're supposed to contribute to a heady equation in which sex, violence and psychology are fused; instead, they're gratuitous, exploitative, and entirely unerotic.
  6. Verhoeven's lurid thriller has moments of welcome self-parody, but most of the action manages to be sensationalistic, homophobic, and tedious at the same time. [20 Mar 1992, Arts, p.12]
  7. A perverse, lame-brained thriller that is pornographic, misogynist and homophobic. If that makes it sound appealing, I should also add that it's silly, boring and intellectually insulting.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 20
  2. Negative: 7 out of 20
  1. Paul
    May 16, 2006
    It's really attacting and thrilling! but there is still something i can't get to know. Who is the moder? the shrink? or Cathrine?
  2. SimpoB.
    Aug 1, 2006
    Brilliantly crafted movie with beautiful cinematography and acting (except for Stone). This is a modern classic which deserves better credit than its reputation. Collapse
  3. Jan 27, 2013
    Basic Instinct broke new ground like no other thriller - it combined erotic, full-on action with great performances, sexy characters and a breath-taking soundtrack. Verhoeven ramped up his in-your-face style with original cinematography using new and different camera angles which were confronting but always highly seductive. Sharon Stone delivers an empowered performance unlike any female character seen before. She is hot, sexy, beguiling and enticing, with occasional unexpected vulnerability. The film is visually attractive and, while slightly predictable, takes you on a fantastic ride right till the last minute. Far and away the most powerful character is Jerry Goldsmith's brilliant, exceptional, original soundtrack - always reminding you of the risks and pleasures inherent in the storyline. His music is complex, fresh and daring from the opening scene to the credits. Expand
  4. Aug 29, 2014
    This movie is extremely dirty in some scenes. Dirty enough in fact that the actors should be ashamed of being in them. The rest of the movie however has been underrated. It's not perfect. There's some tedium after a while ,and the sex scenes are nearly pornographic, but it's a well shot, well acted, and occasionally atmospheric cop thriller. Stone's Catherine Tramell is one of the most memorable and alluring femme fatales in cinematic history. She's the centerpiece of the movie and she supports it ably. It has a very good musical score, (Oscar nominated by the way), and overall it's somewhat memorable, but not good enough to be great. However, by today's R standards it's definitely not the completely pornographic sex fest critics made it out to be. Yes parts are pretty dirty, but it's mostly a crime mystery with a whole lot of plot, even if it could have been better. Expand
  5. Jan 28, 2013
    Here we have a typical erotic-thriller which works (Besides the plot holes, and the unbelievable actions some characters make), because Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas were looking good, and had some screen-chemistry. The script (while nothing special) creates enough tension to keep you watch the whole movie, but the ending is confusing and disappointing. Expand
  6. Nov 6, 2012
    Basic instinct is just like watching porn. The characters are so stupid and the plot itself is horrible. It felt as if they just wanted to put nudity and sex in it so that they could make us watch people have sex. Well if you are into good movies. Don't see this one. Even Bad boys 2 is better. However if you are into boring, uninspired acting, mediocrity, and just down right bad. I recommend this to you. Expand
  7. Sep 7, 2014
    The movie is over the top and the result is pretty unpleasant, a sub-par movie at best.

See all 20 User Reviews