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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Wild Things: Unrated (1998)

"People aren't always what they appear to be. Don't forget that!"
- Detective Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: April 18, 2004

Stars: Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards
Other Stars: Robert Wagner, Theresa Russell, Bill Murray, Daphne Rubin-Vega
Director: John McNaughton

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for strong language, violence, nudity
Run Time: 01h:48m:37s
Release Date: April 20, 2004
UPC: 043396016286
Genre: suspense thriller


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ CB+B D+

DVD Review

Wild Things stands as something of a cinematic oddity as it is frustratingly made both better and worse by its own ridiculousness. Directed by John McNaughton, the film includes gratuitous male and female nudity as well as a collection of double twists that are so extravagant that they have to be explained as the credits role—and somehow the film seems the better because of this. It really is something of a head scratcher.

The film focuses on two high school students, the less fortunate Suzie (Campbell) and the affluent Kelly (Richards), the latter of whom has a crush on young sex education teacher Sam Lombardo (Dillon). When Kelly accuses Sam of rape, things may not be as they seem in the eyes of two detectives (Bacon, Rubin-Vega). Suzie comes forward with a similar tale of sexual abuse, and Lombardo is staring at the prospect of being behind bars for a very long time.

All of this only takes up a small portion of the goings on and, unfortunately, saying anything more would spoil the trashy fun that Wild Things offers. Shot in south Florida, the film oozes atmosphere that adds to the sultry plot line, including ominous shots of alligators being mischievous and sleazy scenes featuring young girls washing cars with no real regard for the cleanliness of the vehicle. For the first half hour, the film offers the sort of B-grade trashiness that makes Wild Things a guilty pleasure. But then the wheels come off.

With an abundance of twists and turns, McNaughton does an admirable job of keeping the audience guessing up until the final scenes, showcasing the talents of Bacon and Dillon, and Bill Murray in a hilarious extended cameo as a low-rent lawyer who defends Lombrado. But the picture's second act prevents any sort of character development—or script development, for that matter. It begins to offer up its final act nearly forty minutes in, while the elements that made the opening quarter so enjoyable are left behind.

Directed with assured skill by McNaughton, the acting is also memorable. For Richards and Campbell, the film would solidify their place in fanboy history during a sultry sex scene that can be viewed as either trash or "unmissable" depending on your view. Bacon and Dillon bring their talents to the table here with nice results, though it appears on occasion that they are simply just playing along.

Trashy and convoluted, yet strangely entertaining, Wild Things is likely to entice fans, given the fact that the new release offers unrated footage of an even steamier scene between Campbell and Richards. Sex sells indeed.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Presented with the same 2.35:1 transfer that was included on the previous release, Wild Things looks fine, though a remastered transfer would have helped. Sharpness and detail are each amazingly well done, offering a very film-like look. Colors are done to perfection with the bright south Florida environment looking particularly good. Edge enhancement is a noticeable problem, and while it is not abundant its presence in several instances is alarming.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The sound for Wild Things is Dolby Digital 5.1 and largely ambient, with the sounds of the Everglades coming to life in several scenes. The score is nicely represented in the surround speakers as well as the .1 LFE track, which offers tight and crisp bass to add atmosphere.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French, Korean, Thai, Portugeuse with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Wild Things 2
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: Trailers for Wild Things as well as its direct-to-video sequel are offered, as are filmographies for the cast and crew.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Released to tie into the release of the unnecessary sequel, the unrated cut of Wild Things offers up more sexuality and less plot. The film was hardly a masterpiece to begin with; the unrated cut offers nothing more.

 


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