Wild Things (1998)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


Wild Things (1998) Poster

A police detective uncovers a conspiracy behind a case involving a high-school guidance counselor when accusations of rape are made against him by two female students.

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6.5/10
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  • Neve Campbell and Denise Richards in Wild Things (1998)
  • Sam & Tom
  • Neve Campbell at an event for Wild Things (1998)
  • Suzie & Kelly
  • Denise Richards in Wild Things (1998)
  • Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick at an event for Wild Things (1998)

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Reviews & Commentary

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9 July 2001 | mentalcritic
Much more intelligent than it is often given credit for...
During the very limited theatrical run that Wild Things recieved here (I think it was gone in about three weeks), a lot of the reviews and publicity created the impression that this was a soap opera sex thriller. I guess that's an easy approach to take when summing this film up, since its two female leads featured in Party Of Five and episodes of Doogie Howser (man what an awful show that was), not to mention that one of the male leads would be doing well to act his way out of a wet paper bag. The problem with that is that it is just too easy, and easy answer is exactly the sort of thing that this film goes out of its way to avoid. It is not trying to be a modern Hitchcock, it is not trying to be another Basic Instinct, it is just trying to tell a story.

The story, such as it is, seems to revolve around Blue Bay High School, the town it is located in, and its snobby, high-income elite, at least in the first reel. We are introduced to all four of the characters who will figure prominently in the story to come during a lecture to the students in their senior year. There's Sam the guidance counsellor, Ray the corrupt policeman, Kelly the daughter of the wealthiest real estate mogul in town, and Suzie the girl from the caravan park across town. All four of these characters have secrets they'd rather not share with any other inhabitant of the town, but that all comes apart when Kelly accuses Sam of raping her. Suzie corroborates her story at first, but then we get our first inkling that things are not all they seem, through the efforts of Bill Murray in one of his best cameos ever. The whole thing is seemingly a conspiracy between Sam, Suzie, and Kelly, but we are never shown whose idea it is until the very end.

This next passage will ruin a key surprise the film has in store, so don't read it if you haven't seen it. Unless things have radically changed in this regard during the last ten years, psychologists and other such professionals do not tell test subjects exactly what their IQ is. Even if Suzie or her mother did know exactly, this whole point is delivered with such sledgehammer force that it almost utterly ruins the subtle, slow buildup that the rest of the film exhibited. Were they just running out of money when it came time to film this spot and just decided to go with the quickest, simplest thing they could do? It would have been much more effective and satisfying if the ugly cop (I forget the name) had just spent five or ten minutes going through whatever Suzie had left behind on her run to the Carribean. Summing up this plot point in fifteen seconds was an exceptionally bad move.

Overall, however, you can't really go wrong with this film for an evening's entertainment. It doesn't feel the need to talk down at its audience, it doesn't resort to excess simplicity to make itself understood (except for the aforementioned ending), it just tells a story and tells it reasonably well. It is also another great example of DVD's utter superiority, especially during the threesome scene. When this part of the film is shown in its proper aspect ratio, you can make out every character and certain little details I'm sure that Denise Richards would appreciate not having available to horny teenage boys in a freezable and zoomable format. When was the last time you zoomed in on an actress' boobs with a VHS cassette, assuming they were left in frame after some jerk with an editing console chopped it down to fit those garbage 4:3 screens?

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Denise Richard's only nude scene in a feature film. Years later after the film's release she appeared in the December 2004 issue of Playboy Magazine in a nude pictorial and during the filming of Denise Richards Its Complicated where she had a brief topless scene while sunbathing.


Quotes

Detective Ray Duquette: Why don't we begin with a question? What is a sex crime?
Jimmy: Not gettin' any!


Goofs

In the final scene of the movie when Daphne is talking to Walter (the alligator handler), he is hooking up the trailer to the boat and he doesn't secure the ball mechanism to the truck at all, only the safety chains. He then shakes the truck for assurance, and enters the truck and drives off. In reality, the trailer would almost immediately remove itself from the ball.


Crazy Credits

Interspersed with the credits are additional scenes that explain some of the plot twists.


Alternate Versions

On 20 April 2004 an Unrated Edition of Wild Things was released on DVD and includes the following additions and extensions:

  • Over the opening shots of the school is inter-cut images of girls moving(dully lit and hard to make out)
  • Extended opening, Duquette and Perez talk about Suzie being locked up for 6 months and Lombardo being a sex hound
  • Extended threesome between Suzie, Lombardo, and Kelly
  • Extended pool scene of Suzie and Kelly making love
  • Duquette is caught spying on Kelly and she sprays him with a hose
  • Bowden and Baxter have lunch at a Mexican restaurant
  • Alternate and extended dialogue is placed through out the movie
  • Alternate Ending - Suzie's Grandmother Ruby takes Det. Perez on a tour of Suzie's home, she shows her a family album and reveals that she is not Suzie's real grandmother but that she raised her as her own. In an odd twist of events, Ruby reveals that old man Van Ryan (Kelly's grandfather) had once gotten a young girl pregnant. He brought her to the glades to live in the trailer park, where she gave birth and died within a year from alcoholism. Ruby then took Suzie in her home shortly afterwards. Ruby then tells Det. Perez that Sandra Van Ryan (Theresa Russell) is Suzie's half-sister, so Suzie had technically been having sex with her own niece Kelly (Denise Richards). (This is all added before Det. Perez goes to talk to Walter).
  • Two added graphic scenes to the revealing ending - 1 Kelly comes to see Lombardo at the bar and gives him some cocaine to try, she is dressed very sexy in red and they end up fooling around (when Suzie takes the pictures of them together). 2 Then Lombardo is seen making love to Kelly from behind (after the car wash; in this particular scene, Lombardo is seen groping Kelly's right breast) as she repeats the line "No little girl is gonna make me..."


Soundtracks

Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Babe
Written by
Barry White
Performed by Barry White
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By Arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Music

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

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