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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
Wild things (movie poster).jpg
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.[citation needed] 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).



A popular Miami area high school guidance counselor, Sam Lombardo, is accused of rape by two female students, a wealthy and popular girl named Kelly Van Ryan and a poor outcast named Suzie Toller. He hires lawyer Kenneth Bowden to defend him. At trial, Suzie admits that she and Kelly had made everything up 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, Sandra. Kelly's mother is humiliated by the scandal, and Sam and Kenneth negotiate an $8.5 million settlement for defamation. In reality, Sam and the two girls were accomplices who used the trial as a way to get money from Kelly's wealthy family. To celebrate their success, the three accomplices have sex.

Police detective Ray Duquette, against the wishes of the district attorney's office, continues to investigate Sam. He suspects the trio are working a scam, telling both Kelly and Suzie that Sam has already transferred the money to an off-shore account. Suzie panics and goes to Kelly for help. Kelly assures Suzie they can trust each other, but separately tells Sam over the phone that they may have to get rid of Suzie. Suzie attacks Kelly in the pool. They fight, but eventually end up kissing in the pool, all witnessed and recorded by Ray, still investigating the trio. A few nights later, Sam and Kelly take Suzie to the beach and he kills her while Kelly waits nearby. After wrapping the body in plastic, they throw it in the trunk of the car and drive out to the swamp, where Sam disposes of it.

Ray and his partner, Detective Gloria Perez, are called in to 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 his partner to watch Sam. Sam confronts Gloria and invites her in to read his school files on Kelly. She discovers that Kelly is a deeply troubled and violent girl made worse by the suicide of her father. Meanwhile, Ray goes to Kelly's house to confront her. When he arrives, Kelly is scared and upset. Ray enters her room. From outside her room three shots are heard, then Ray exits the room and collapses on the ground. He later claims that Kelly shot him in the arm and he was left with no choice but to kill her in self-defense. No charges are filed against him, but he is dismissed from the force for disobeying orders.

Sam returns to his beach bungalow to find Ray taking a shower. They were partners, setting everyone up so they could split the money just two ways. Although Sam is not pleased Ray killed Kelly instead of framing her for Suzie's death as originally planned, he agrees that they now have fewer loose ends. The two agree to go fishing on Sam's sailboat, where he tries to eliminate Ray. When Ray fights back, he is shot and killed by a very much alive Suzie. She kills him as revenge for killing Kelly and her friend, Davie, and for arresting her on a drug charge when he realized she had witnessed the murder (the arrest from which Sam had not bailed her out). Suzie then poisons Sam's drink and knocks him overboard, so his body will not be found.

A post-credits scene features a number of quick scenes that fill in details of the backstory. They reveal that Suzie has a genius I.Q., near 200, and was the ultimate architect of the entire plot. She now has control of all of the settlement money and has taken her revenge on both Sam and Ray. She had been sleeping with Sam yet could not get him to bail her out, had discovered that Sam and Kelly were now sleeping together, and used it to pull him into her plot, starting with having him befriend Ray. As for Kelly's death, she had not attacked Ray as he had claimed. In reality, she tried to escape the guest house when he entered. He shot her dead, broke into her gun case and used her hand to shoot himself in the shoulder. In a final scene, Kenneth meets with Suzie, whose financial affairs he is handling. She kisses him on the cheek and as she walks off, he tells her to be good.



The film holds a 64% "fresh" rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, 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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