Mystery Movies - Wild Things
Wild Things Trilogy
Kevin Bacon, Denise Richards, Matt Dillon,
Neve Campbell, Bill Murray, Theresa Russell
Directed by John McNaughton
Columbia Pictures 1998
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2005
is a generally well-acted (Denise Richards is much prettier than talented) definitely well-plotted thriller by B-movie actors that will be a love it or it’s okay experience for most viewers. If you like a mystery with a lot of plot twists, the kind of movie that allows you to believe you’ve figured things out but then pulls the rug from under you, Wild Things is right up your alley. This is a weird, sometimes slow-paced, sexual thriller starring Kevin Bacon (who adds more people to his seven degrees status) as a Florida cop (and definite inspiration for Horatio Cane of CSI Miami) who investigates a high school guidance counselor and stick man for the rich marina ladies (Matt Dillon) in the rape of two students. It is not absolutely difficult to buy then 27 year old Denise Richards as a high school senior in Wild Things and Neve Campbell is her usual competently underwhelming self.
Things get weirder when halfway in the movie and in a bizarre courtroom scene where the judge’s and witnesses mic seems to be set on echo, the Matt Dillon character has the charges against him dismissed about halfway through the movie. He, of course, gets a fat settlement from his accuser’s mother (and a former flame of his, talk about convoluted), quits his job, and goes away.
The cop (Kevin Bacon) then figures out the real story and decides to set up the parties one against the other in the good old play the weak partner against the others trick. The rest of the movie involves a lot of shots of Denise Richards in or out of bathing suits, Neve Campbell being her usual pouty, uneven self, and a thriller that depends a lot on the viewer wanting to know how is all this going to end. This one did, and not just because of the cat fight between Denise Richards and Neve Campbell that turns into a love-in under the illegally taping and trespassing watchful eyes of Kevin Bacon.
The real star of Wild Things is Bill Murray as Matt Dillon’s lawyer. He plays the prototype shady lawsuit shyster and actually wears a fake brace around his own neck for reasons unexplained in the movie. He steals quite a few scenes but in the case of this cast, Kevin Bacon aside, it is like a major league pitcher facing a high school softball team.
There are a few elements in Wild Things that do not really work. The main one being that one of Dillon’s accusers is allowed to be in the courtroom while the other testifies. Of course the catfight that turns into a make out session between the two girls is also implausible but no red-blooded guy will really object. To the writer’s and director’s credit the many plot turns and surprises are totally believable.
You definitely want to stay until the very end. Not only because Wild Things is a very good thriller but because there are a few more scenes inserted in the credits that explain a few things.
Wild Things, the Unrated Edition, and part of the Wild Things Trilogy, has only previews as extra features and does not include the director’s comment of a previous DVD version of this sexy thriller.
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