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Review: Wild Things (1998)

Wild Things (1998)

Directed by: John McNaughton 

Premise: A high school guidance councilor (Matt Dillon) gets caught up in rape accusations with two students (Neve Campbell and Denise Richards). As the plot thickens, things are not what they seem.

What Works: This is an extremely well drawn story with an impenetrable mystery. The entire film is permeated with a gothic perversion that is very rich. Wild Things is extremely sexual but is able to give the sense that we have seen more than we actually did. The middle of the film is blessed by Bill Murray, who plays Matt Dillon’s low rent defense attorney. Murray gives a great performance, maybe one of the best of his career. Also winning kudos are Neve Campbell as one of the teenage girls and Kevin Bacon as a troubled police detective. Campbell and Bacon have the toughest roles in the picture and they really deliver.

What Doesn’t: Certain moments in Wild Things border on camp although the film is partly an homage to exploitation films of the 1960s and 70s, so it is deliberately headed in that direction. The film walks the line but it comes awful lose to crossing it.

DVD extras: R-rated and unrated editions. The R-rated version includes deleted scenes, trailers, and commentary track.

Bottom Line: Wild Things is a wonderful guilty pleasure. It is one of those diamond-in-the-rough films that has escaped a lot of critical attention. Those who enjoy Southern Gothic, mysteries, or trashy eroticism must check this one out.

Episode: #85 (February 12, 2005)