Wild Things (film)

Wild Things is a 1998 American erotic thriller film directed by John McNaughton and starring Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Kevin Bacon, Denise Richards and Theresa Russell.

Wild Things
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn McNaughton
Produced by
Written byStephen Peters
Music byGeorge S. Clinton
CinematographyJeffrey L. Kimball
Edited byElena Maganini
Distributed byColumbia Pictures (US)
Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Roadshow Entertainment (Australia)
Release date
  • March 20, 1998 (1998-03-20)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$56 million[2][3]

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. 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, 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 drop 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. There were five of them as part of the plan: Suzie Toller, Sam Lombardo, Sgt. Ray Duquette, Kelly Van Ryan and Atty. Kenneth Bowden. They reveal that Suzie is the ultimate mastermind of the entire plot as she alone sails off into the sunset. In the final scene, Suzie meets Kenneth who is handling her financial affairs. He hands her a briefcase with one million dollars cash.



The film holds a 63% "fresh" rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes from 59 reviews, indicating a mixed-positive response.[4][5] The film received a 52/100 rating on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

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".[7]

George S. Clinton was nominated for Best Music at 25th Saturn Awards, but lost to fellow composer John Carpenter for John Carpenter's Vampires, another film from Columbia Pictures.


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).


  1. "Wild Things (18)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  2. Wild Things at Box Office Mojo Retrieved October 8, 2012
  3. "Wild Things". The Numbers. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  4. Mathews, Jack (March 20, 1998). "Wild Things' Runs Rampant With Twists and Surprises". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  5. Wild Things (1998) Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  6. Wild Things at Metacritic Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  7. "Wild Things" Variety. March 17, 1998.
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