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Mark Steven Johnson
Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell
Writing Credits:
Mark Steven Johnson

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.

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$9,622,444 on 2177 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R/NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min. (Theatrical)
114 min, (Unrated)
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 5/24/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director John McNaughton, Cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball, Editor Elena Maganini, Producers Steven A. Jones and Rodney M. Liber, and Composer George S. Clinton
• Audio Commentary with Director John McNaughton and Producer Steven A. Jones
• Interview with Director John McNaughton
• Interview with Actor Denise Richards
• On-Set Interviews
• Outtakes
• Trailer
• Stills Gallery


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Wild Things (Limited Edition) [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2022)

You know all those cheesy sex thrillers they used to show weekends on cable? Straight-to-video classics with titles like Naked Lies, Stormy Nights, or Victim of Desire?

If you've watched any of those movies, you've essentially seen Wild Things. Oh, it features a better than average cast, much stronger production values, and more wit and cleverness, but Wild Things clearly shares more in common with its late-night cable brethren than it does with typical multiplex fare.

Don't misinterpret my comments as a knock on Wild Things, however. Yes, it's trash, but it's gleeful trash.

The film knows and comprehends its nature and it never really aspires to be anything but sleazy fun. Never do you get the feeling that the filmmakers try to make any grand statements, as it delivers a thriller in a soap opera setting.

In the wealthy South Florida village of Blue Bay, sexy senior Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards) accuses guidance counselor Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) of rape. Though local cops Sergeant Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) and Detective Gloria Perez (Daphne Rubin-Vega) initially doubt the veracity of her story, classmate Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell) offers corroborating details from her own alleged assault at Sam’s hands, so Lombardo goes to trial.

This unravels when Suzie admits that she and Kelly made up the whole narrative. Though Sam goes free, complications ensue and take the tale down a wicked road.

As mentioned, Wild Things simply aspires to become a lurid thriller, and it largely succeeds. It takes the viewer on a fairly convoluted ride through a variety of mostly implausible plot twists and turns and it frequently ends up in unexpected places.

You won't find terribly crisp or memorable dialogue, and you won't find extremely compelling characters. You will get a story that feels worth watching, however.

In fact, I was surprised to discover that Wild Things works for re-watching. When I first took it in, I thought it seemed enjoyable but nothing special.

Because the film seemed to really rely on the element of surprise, I didn't anticipate that it would be very interesting the second time. I already knew what strange turns the story would take, so it didn’t feel like a tale that would work on second inspection.

To my surprise, I found the second viewing to be at least as enjoyable as the first. While I think part of this was because I found it interesting to examine the events more from the perspective of the characters as they actually understood things - not as you think they interpret their environment - I really can't explain why the film remained compelling for me.

Okay, some of the steamy scenes didn't hurt. If I ever get tired of watching Neve Campbell and Denise Richards make out, please shoot me.

While Wild Things probably contains less sex than its B-movie cable compatriots, it nonetheless heats things up more than most theatrical releases. There are also a fair number of seemingly gratuitous shots of Denise Richards in skimpy outfits.

While some may argue that these bits are unnecessary, I disagree. This film has no real reason to exist if not for its sexy nature, and the picture really seems to revel in that fact.

The shots of women in revealing outfits didn't seem exploitative to me. At the risk of sounding glib, it all appeared to be in the gleefully trashy spirit of the movie.

And for the record, no one in the film bares more than Kevin Bacon, who lets us all see his schlong. For those opposed to nude scenes in movies, this probably won't help - male or female nudity shouldn't matter - but at least the film took an equal opportunity approach to the matter.

Truly it is the quality of the film that makes it more notable than the cable classics. Not only does this mean the movie looks and sounds good, but also this allows the filmmakers to attract a much higher caliber of acting talent than would normally be found in this kind of project.

Both Dillon and Bacon are good but unspectacular as the male leads. Bill Murray and Robert Wagner make great use of their supporting roles.

However, the most interesting acting really comes from the female leads. In 1998, much was made about how Campbell took this role to combat her "good girl" image and how it would be such a stretch for her.

I agree that her white trash character definitely takes her into different territory than she entered in Party of Five and Scream, but unfortunately she doesn't seem to alter her acting style much. She still comes across as her usual sweet/semi-vulnerable self, so no matter how nasty she should seem, she keeps that little twinkle in her eye that made her popular.

Richards, on the other hand, becomes a different story. Whatever acting reputation she made stemmed largely on her roles in Starship Troopers and The World Is Not Enough. Her work in those two flicks didn’t exactly line her up to look toward a future Oscar.

It made sense to cast Theresa Russell as Kelly’s mother in Wild Thing. Russell built a career in the 1980's as a vixen with no acting talents, so why not make connect her to Richards, a woman who seemed set to inherit that mantle?

Surprisingly, however, Richards acquits herself well in Wild Things. Oh, she's no Olivier - though Olivier probably wouldn't have succeeded in the role, since he's a man and he's dead - but she nonetheless does some pretty good work here.

It probably helps that unlike her fighter pilot role in Starship Troopers, here she plays a conniving sexpot who uses her looks and her money to get what she wants. That kind of role feels more logical for Richards. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Richards actually can come across as less wooden than Pinocchio.

No one will ever confuse Wild Things for a classic, but it sits as a good example of its genre. It does what it does well and offers a frisky and interesting piece of fluff.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Wild Things appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into an appealing presentation.

Across the board, sharpness seemed very good. A few wide shots displayed light softness, but most of the movie seemed distinctive and detailed.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Grain felt natural, while print flaws failed to mar the proceedings.

With its Southern Florida setting, Things featured a vibrant palette that came across well. The tropical colors appeared bright and dynamic, so they hopped off the screen at times.

Blacks also seemed deep and firm, while low-light shots displayed nice dimensionality and precision. Expect a fine presentation here.

Similar thoughts greeted the pretty solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Wild Things. Given the film’s scope, the soundfield mainly concentrated on ambience, but it did so in an unusually involving manner.

Various environmental elements consistently popped up in the forward channels to create a nicely engrossing feel. The surrounds also kicked in with solid atmospherics and occasionally demonstrated stereo material.

For example, early in the film a car zoomed from front to rear and across the back. This was about as showy as the mix got, but it seemed like a satisfying use of the format. Music also showed nice delineation and cropped up neatly in the rear speakers at times.

As for the audio quality, the mix sounded great. Speech consistently came across as clear and accurate, with no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess.

Effects appeared concise and detailed. The mix boasted firm bass response as necessary, and the various elements sounded clean and distinctive.

The vaguely jazzy score fared especially well, as the music seemed smooth and frothy and showed strong range. Highs were crisp and bright, while low-end came across as rich and lively.

The audio of Wild Things didn’t make “A”-level consideration due to the somewhat restricted ambition of the soundfield. Nonetheless, the high quality of the material meant this felt like a “B+” despite the lack of super-active soundscape.

How did the 2022 Blu-ray compare to the prior BD from 2007? Audio felt pretty similar. Even though the 2022 disc replaced the 2007’s PCM mix with DTS-HD MA, both seemed largely alike.

Visuals became a different matter, as the 2022 disc looked considerably better defined and more stable, with superior colors as well. This was a good upgrade.

We get a mix of new and old extras on this Arrow Blu-ray, and we find two different versions of the film. The disc includes the movie’s Theatrical Edition (1:48:15) as well as a 2004 Unrated Cut (1:54:47).

What changes with that extra six and a half minutes? The longer rendition extends a bunch of scenes, adds a couple, and includes some alternate material.

I don’t think the new version seems substantially different. Clearly fans most want extra nudity, and though we get a little of that, it’s not enough to make a huge impact.

The rest of the material also comes across as fairly insubstantial. The added stuff doesn’t harm the film, but it fails to bring much, so either version works about the same in the end.

Only alongside the Theatrical Version, the disc gives us two audio commentaries, the first of which features director John McNaughton, cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball, editor Elena Maganini, composer George S. Clinton, and producers Steven A. Jones and Rodney M. Liber. All sit together for a running, screen-specific view of story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, photography, costumes, and related domains.

Found on the 1998 DVD, we get a nicely casual track, as evidenced by the fact that five of the participants start before Kimball even arrives! They all seem enthusiastic about the project but they never treat it with any kind of feigned seriousness.

Instead, they know it's just a funky little potboiler and they seem to regard it as a fun film and nothing more. One aspect of the audio commentary that I really like stems from the way the participants discuss just how much work goes into making movies.

I think a lot of times people see silly little films like Wild Things and imagine that the whole project gets tossed out quickly and easily. It's illuminating to hear just how much work took place to make this thing happen, and also to learn how hard the participants toiled to make it just the way they wanted.

Even a trashy movie like this requires a lot of forethought and effort. The commentators communicate their activities thoroughly and entertainingly. They all seem to have a lot of fun as they discuss the film, and they make this a fine chat.

New to the 2022 Blu-ray, we get a commentary from director John McNaughton and producer Steven A. Jones. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of the same topics found in the 1998 chat.

And I mean that literally, as little no material appears here. McNaughton and Jones toss out a handful of minor nuggets that we don’t get in the old commentary, but the vast majority of their remarks become redundant.

In addition, McNaughton and Jones go MIA an awful lot, so the commentary suffers from tons of dead air. Don’t bother with this tedious track, as the 1998 piece offers all you need.

We get more from the filmmaker via a new 26-minute, 20-second Interview with Director John McNaughton. He discusses what led him to Things as well as script/development, research and locations, other aspects of his career, the movie’s nudity, casting, and various production notes.

Given we already heard from McNaughton for two commentaries, this piece comes with limited room for new material. Still, we get a decent conversation overall, even if McNaughton goes onto tangents a little too often.

Another new piece, we find an Interview with Actor Denise Richards. During this 14-minute, four-second chat, she talks about her casting, her role and performance, her costars and her experiences. Richards gives us a decent overview of memories here.

From 1998, we get four minutes, 17 seconds of On-Set Interviews. These involve McNaughton, Richards and actors Neve Campbell, Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, and Bill Murray.

They give us story and character basics. Don’t expect anything more than EPK fluff.

Called “An Understanding Lawyer”, 27 seconds of Outtakes show a variety of reactions Bill Murray tried for one scene. Previously called a deleted scene on prior releases, this seems fun but insubstantial.

Note that the original 1998 DVD included two other deleted scenes. One was just a silly outtake, whereas the other – which involved a conference between lawyers – appears in the Unrated Cut.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with a Stills Gallery. It provides 44 shots from the movie and seems wholly mediocre.

A light but fun sex thriller, Wild Things shares a lot in common with many “C”-level straight to video romps. However, it boasts better production values and a borderline campy sense of fun that make it entertaining. The Blu-ray presents solid picture and sound along with a fairly good selection of bonus materials. After nearly 25 years, this remains an enjoyably tawdry tale.

To rate this film, visit the original review of WILD THINGS