Wild Things (film)

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Wild Things
Wild things (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn McNaughton
Produced by
Written byStephen Peters
Music byGeorge S. Clinton
CinematographyJeffrey L. Kimball
Edited byElena Maganini
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • March 20, 1998 (1998-03-20)
Running time
108 minutes
115 minutes
(Unrated Edition)[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$67.2 million[2]

Wild Things is a 1998 American neo-noir[3] crime thriller film directed by John McNaughton and starring Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Kevin Bacon, Denise Richards, Bill Murray, 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.[citation needed] 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.

The film has three direct-to-DVD sequels, Wild Things 2 (2004), Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (2005) and Wild Things: Foursome (2010).


Miami area high school guidance counselor Sam Lombardo is accused of rape by two female students, wealthy and popular Kelly Van Ryan and poor outcast Suzie Toller. He hires lawyer Kenneth Bowden to defend him.

At trial, one of the girls admit having lied to get revenge on Sam: 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. Sam and Kenneth negotiate an $8.5 million settlement for defamation. It is revealed that Sam and the two girls were accomplices who used the trial to get money from Kelly's wealthy family.

Police detective Ray Duquette suspects the trio are working a scam. Against the wishes of the district attorney's office, he continues investigating Sam. He tells Kelly and Suzie that Sam has already transferred the money to an off-shore account. Suzie panics and goes to Kelly, who comforts her. Kelly, however, calls Sam and tells him they may have to get rid of Suzie. In the pool, Suzie attacks Kelly. They fight, but eventually end up kissing, while watched by Ray, unbeknownst to them. A few nights later, at the beach, Sam apparently kills Suzie while Kelly waits nearby. They drive to the swamp where Sam disposes of the plastic-wrapped body.

Ray and his partner, Detective Gloria Perez, investigate Suzie's disappearance. Her blood and teeth are found at the beach while her car is found at a bus terminal. The D.A.'s office again insists that Ray drops the case, but he asks Gloria to watch Sam. Sam shows Gloria Kelly's school files, which claim she is a troubled and violent girl. Meanwhile, Ray goes to Kelly's house to confront a scared and upset Kelly. After Ray enters her room, three gun shots are heard, after which Ray exits the room and collapses. He later claims that Kelly shot first and he killed her in self-defense. No charges are filed against him, but he is dismissed from the force for disobeying orders.

It is revealed that Sam is working with Ray. Although Sam is displeased Ray killed Kelly instead of just framing her for Suzie's death, he agrees they have fewer loose ends. The two go sailing on Sam's sailboat, where Sam tries to kill Ray. When Ray fights back, he is shot and killed by a very much alive Suzie. She then poisons Sam's drink and knocks him overboard, so his body will not be found.

Several post-credits scenes fill in the missing details. The five co-conspirators are Suzie Toller, Sam Lombardo, Sgt. Ray Duquette, Kelly Van Ryan, and Atty. Kenneth Bowden. Suzie, with an IQ of around 200, is revealed to be the ultimate mastermind of the entire plot as she alone sails off into the sunset. In the final post-credits scene Suzie walks into Sam's guidance office and drops a bunch of pictures on his desk showing him and Kelly Van Ryan having sex. Presumably, she blackmails Sam into helping her mastermind the whole thing.



The film holds a 62% "fresh" rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes from 61 reviews, indicating a mixed-positive response. The site's consensus states: "Wild Things is a delightfully salacious, flesh-exposed romp that also requires a high degree of love for trash cinema."[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 John Carpenter for Vampires, another film from Columbia Pictures.

The film grossed $30.1 million in the United States and Canada and $37.1 million internationally for a worldwide total of $67.2 million.[7][2]


Three sequels were released on direct-to-video, Wild Things 2 (2004), Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (2005) and Wild Things: Foursome (2010). 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, as well as its high school, Blue Bay High and the Blue Bay Police Department (BBPD).

Cultural references[edit]

In the "Wild Things" episode of the web television series Pen15, the film is watched by a number of middle school kids, who are enraptured with the sex scene. This sets the mood for one of the major characters getting her first kiss from a boy.[8]


  1. ^ "Wild Things (18)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Klady, Leonard (January 25, 1999). "The Top 125 Worldwide". Variety. p. 36.
  3. ^ Clark, Jason. "Wild Things". Allmovie. Wild Things can honestly be called one of the '90s true neo-noirs
  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. ^ Wild Things at Box Office Mojo
  8. ^ "PEN15 Recap: Walk On The Wild Side".

External links[edit]