Wild Things on DVD – The DVDfever Review

wild things

Wild Things is an intriguing pot-boiler of sex, lust, revenge and money down in the Everglades of Blue Bay, Florida. A high-school guidance counsellor Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) is framed for rape on two counts with the school’s sexiest students, Suzie Toller (Scream queen Neve Campbell) and Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards, the latest Bond girl).

On Dillon’s side is attorney Ken Bowden (an excellent performance from Bill Murray) who gets him off the charge, but if you think that’s spoiling the plot, it’s not even the half of it. Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) and his partner Gloria Perez (Daphne Rubin-Vega) are detectives who go sniffing around after they think there’s more to this case than meets the eye, given that Lombardo has previously had an affair with Kelly’s mother Sandra (Theresa Russell) and what exactly has happened to the $8½ million of her money?

What follows is a storyline which has more twists and turns than a bowl of spaghetti, as you’re never sure to whom Lombardo’s affections turn and just when you think you’ve worked out who the good and bad guys and girls are, get set to change your mind. All seems clear by the end of the film, but then there’s some extra scenes you’ll view during the closing credits in which… no, I can’t say any more.

As you’ll see from the screengrabs in this review, there’s an interesting scene featuring three of the leads but you’ll only see Denise’s bristols as Neve Campbell has a ‘no nudity’ clause in her acting contract.


Smoochy! Smoochy!

I have no complaints with the picture quality. It’s anamorphic and free of artifacts, with the film itself presented in its original widescreen ratio of 2.35:1. The average bitrate is a middling 4.82Mb/s, briefly peaking over 8Mb/s.

The sound is, once again, Dolby Prologic, not Dolby Digital 5.1 like the American release. George S. Clinton puts on a memorable score and the soundtrack is clean but it plays more for ambience rather than ear-splitting special effects.


A new use for champagne!

Chapters: Like a lot of their recent discs, 12 chapters again and again EiV have provided approximate times for where the chapter breaks occur. This time they’re only an hour ahead, but seem to have spawned timings down to 1/100ths of a second !?! Who’s putting this stuff together? I wouldn’t even have half-a-pint of what they’re on! They’re also based on the film being 106 mins long just like Deep Rising, when it’s actually 104, so work that one out.

Languages & Subtitles: English only in Dolby Surround but no subtitles.

Trailer and Featurette: The original theatrical trailer is included as well as a standard 4-minute made-for-TV featurette which combines clips from the film with chat from the cast and crew.

Menu: The main menu is silent and static, mirroring the front cover with the two girls and options to select a scene, start the film or choose the “extra features”.

Overall, Wild Things will pass a couple of hours better than many films around but won’t particularly be one you’ll go back to again and again. Also, the Region 1 DVD is much better spec’d with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, an audio commentary and three deleted scenes, not to mention more chapters (28).


Detailed specs:

Running time: 100 minutes
Year: 1998
Released: 1999
Cat no: EDV 9034
Chapters: 12
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Panavision)
Disc Format: DVD 5

Director: John McNaughton
Producers: Rodney Liber and Steven A Jones
Screenplay: Stephen Peters
Music: George S Clinton

Cast :
Ray Duquette: Kevin Bacon
Sam Lombardo: Matt Dillon
Suzie Toller: Neve Campbell
Kelly Van Ryan: Denise Richards
Ken Bowden: Bill Murray
Tom Baxter: Robert Wagner