Wild Things

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Wild Things
Wild things (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John McNaughton
Produced by Rodney M. Liber
Steven A. Jones
Kevin Bacon
Written by Stephen Peters
Starring Kevin Bacon
Matt Dillon
Neve Campbell
Denise Richards
Robert Wagner
Bill Murray
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Jeffrey L. Kimball
Edited by Elena Maganini
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • March 20, 1998 (1998-03-20)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $30,147,739 (Domestic)[1]
$55,576,699 (Worldwide)[2]

Wild Things is a 1998 American erotic thriller film directed by John McNaughton, and stars Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Kevin Bacon, Denise Richards and Theresa Russell.

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.

The film has a MPAA rating of R for "strong sexuality, nudity, language and violence".[3]


A Miami area high school guidance counselor, Sam Lombardo (Dillon), is accused of rape by two female students, the wealthy and popular Kelly Van Ryan (Richards) and poor outcast Suzie Toller (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. 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 (Bacon), against the wishes of his commanding officer, continues to investigate Lombardo. He suspects the trio are working a scam, telling 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, still investigating the trio. A few nights later, Lombardo and Kelly take Suzie to the beach and he kills her while Kelly is nearby. 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 (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 attacks 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, working a scam on the two girls. 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 tries to kill Duquette. When Duquette fights back, he is shot in the leg with a speargun by the still-living Suzie. She kills Duquette as revenge for killing her friend, Davie, and for arresting her on a drug charge when he sees that she has witnessed the murder (the arrest from which Lombardo had not bailed her out). Suzie then poisons Lombardo's drink and knocks him overboard, so his body won't be found.

An ending sequence features a number of quick scenes that fill in details of the backstory. These scenes reveal that Suzie has a genius I.Q., near 200, and was the ultimate architect of the entire plot. She now has control of all of the settlement money and has taken her revenge on both Lombardo and Duquette. She had been sleeping with Lombardo yet could not get him to bail her out, had discovered that Lombardo and Kelly were now sleeping together, and used it to pull him into her plot, starting with having him befriend Duquette. As for Kelly's death, she had not attacked Duquette as he had claimed. In reality, she tried to escape the guest house when he entered. He shot her dead, broke into her gun case and 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".



Almost all the high school sequences, including many pool scenes, were filmed at Ransom Everglades High School in Coconut Grove, Florida.


The film holds a 64% "fresh" rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a mixed-positive response.[3][4] The film received a 52/100 rating on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

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".[6]

George S. Clinton was nominated for Best Music at 25th Saturn Awards, but lost to fellow composer John Carpenter for John Carpenter's Vampires, another film from Columbia Pictures.


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.[7] Although Backstabbers would have reportedly reunited members of the cast and crew of Wild Things, it would not have been a sequel.[7] Backstabbers never saw release.


  1. ^ Wild Things at Box Office Mojo Retrieved October 8, 2012
  2. ^ "Wild Things". The Numbers. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Mathews, Jack (March 20, 1998). "Wild Things' Runs Rampant With Twists and Surprises". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  4. ^ Wild Things (1998) Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  5. ^ Wild Things at Metacritic Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  6. ^ "Wild Things" Variety. March 17, 1998.
  7. ^ a b "Richards and Campbell Re-Team for 'Wild Things'". WENN via Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2008. 

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