Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John McNaughton|
|Produced by||Rodney M. Liber
Steven A. Jones
|Written by||Stephen Peters|
with Robert Wagner
and Bill Murray
|Music by||George S. Clinton|
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Edited by||Elena Maganini|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$30,147,739 (Domestic)
Wild Things (also known as Sex Crimes) is a 1998 American erotic thriller film starring Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Kevin Bacon, Denise Richards and Theresa Russell. It was directed by John McNaughton.
An "uncut" version, adding seven minutes to its runtime, was released on DVD in 2004 and includes a change to Kelly and Suzie's relationship. The film gained notoriety for featuring several sex scenes – in particular, one involving a man and two women simultaneously – that were more explicit than is typically seen in mainstream, big-budget Hollywood releases. It spawned several direct-to-DVD sequels that were released in 2004, 2005, and 2010.
A Miami area high school guidance counselor, Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon), is accused of rape by two female students, the wealthy and popular Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards) and poor outcast Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell), and hires lawyer Kenneth Bowden (Bill Murray) to defend him. At trial, Suzie admits that she and Kelly had made everything up to get revenge on Lombardo: Suzie for him failing to bail her out of jail on a minor drug charge and Kelly for him having an affair with her mother, Sandra (Theresa Russell). Kelly's mother is humiliated by the scandal, and Lombardo and Bowden negotiate an $8.5 million settlement for defamation. In reality, however, Lombardo and the two girls were accomplices who used the trial as a way to get money from Kelly's wealthy family. To celebrate their success, the three of them have sex.
Police detective Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) tells both Kelly and Suzie that Lombardo transferred the money to an off-shore account. Suzie panics and goes to Kelly for help. Kelly assures Suzie that they can trust each other, but separately tells Lombardo over the phone that they may have to get rid of her. Suzie overhears this and attacks Kelly in the pool. Both girls fight, but eventually end up having sex in the pool, all witnessed by Duquette. However, a few nights later, Lombardo and Kelly take Suzie to the beach and seemingly kill her. After wrapping the body in plastic, they throw it in the trunk of the car and drive out to the swamp, where Lombardo disposes of it.
Duquette and his partner, Gloria (Daphne Rubin Vega), are called in to investigate Suzie's disappearance. Her blood and teeth are later found on the beach while her car is found at a bus terminal. Duquette's superior insists that he drop the case, but Duquette goes to Kelly's house to confront her. When he arrives, Kelly appears to attack him, shooting him in the arm. Duquette is left with no choice but to kill her in self-defense. No charges are filed against Duquette, but he is dismissed from the force and loses his pension.
Later, it is revealed that Lombardo and Duquette had been working together the entire time. Although Lombardo is not pleased that Duquette killed Kelly instead of framing her as originally planned, Duquette insists that it leaves fewer loose ends. The two agree to go fishing on Lombardo's sailboat the following day. Once they are at sea, Lombardo knocks Duquette overboard. When Duquette climbs back aboard and attacks Lombardo, he is shot in the leg with a spear by the still-living Suzie. She shoots and kills Duquette as revenge for killing her friend, Davie, years before. Suzie then poisons Lombardo with a drink she pours for him and knocks him overboard, leaving him to die.
An ending sequence features a number of quick scenes that fill in details of the backstory, featuring how the conspirators plotted with and manipulated one-another. These scenes it is revealed that Suzie was the ultimate architect of the entire plot, orchestrating it to gain control of all of the settlement money herself and take revenge on both Lombardo and Duquette: Lombardo for leaving her in jail and Duquette for killing Davie. Suzie had discovered that Lombardo and Kelly were sleeping together, and used it to her advantage. As for Kelly's death, she had not attacked Duquette as he had claimed. In reality, when she tried to escape the guest house when he entered, he punched her to incapacitate her, then broke into the gun case, and shot her twice with his gun. He then used her hand to shoot himself in the shoulder. In a final scene Bowden meets with Suzie, whose financial affairs he is handling. She kisses him on the cheek and as she walks off, Bowden tells her to "be good".
- Kevin Bacon as Sergeant Ray Duquette
- Matt Dillon as Sam Lombardo
- Denise Richards as Kelly Lanier Van Ryan
- Neve Campbell as Suzie Marie Toller
- Bill Murray as Kenneth Bowden
- Theresa Russell as Sandra Van Ryan
- Daphne Rubin-Vega as Detective Gloria Perez
- Robert Wagner as Tom Baxter
- Jennifer Bini Taylor as Barbara Baxter
- Carrie Snodgress as Ruby
- Jeff Perry as Bryce Hunter
- Marc Macaulay as Walter
The film holds a 64% "fresh" rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a mixed-positive response. The film received a 52/100 rating on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Variety praised the casting of Dillon, Bacon, Campbell, Richards, Russell, Murray, and Snodgress: "[Y]ou have an ensemble that appears to be enjoying the challenge of offbeat roles and unusual material. There's not a wrong note struck by the game group of players." The magazine also praised the film as "original" with a "glossy, unreal quality that nicely dovetails with the pulse of the drama".
A sequel, Wild Things 2, never saw theatrical release and went straight to video in 2004, as did a third film called Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (2005). The sequels recycled much of the plot, dialogue, and direction of the first film, albeit with different actors. All three films, for example, take place in Blue Bay, and its high school, Blue Bay High. The fourth film in the series, Wild Things: Foursome (2010), starred Ashley Parker Angel, with Marnette Patterson and Jillian Murray portraying the two lead characters.
In February 2006, it was reported that Campbell and Richards would appear in Backstabbers, and producers were trying to get more of the original film's cast to star as well. Although Backstabbers would have reportedly reunited members of the cast and crew of Wild Things, it would not have been a sequel. Backstabbers never saw release.
- Wild Things at Box Office Mojo Retrieved October 8, 2012
- "Wild Things". The Numbers. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- Mathews, Jack (March 20, 1998). "Wild Things' Runs Rampant With Twists and Surprises". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- Wild Things (1998) Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- Wild Things at Metacritic Retrieved October 8, 2012.
- "Wild Things" Variety. March 17, 1998.
- "Richards and Campbell Re-Team for 'Wild Things'". WENN via Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2008.
- Wild Things at the Internet Movie Database
- Wild Things at AllMovie
- Wild Things at Box Office Mojo
- Wild Things at Rotten Tomatoes
- Wild Things at Metacritic