Wild Things

Dir: John McNaughton
Star: Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Kevin Bacon

Former TC
Top 50 Film
Chris will probably never let me forget an offhand comment I once made in print, involving Denise Richards and chocolate pudding. A handy tip to 'zine editors out there: if you really must mention attractive actresses, do not do so in your publication. Particularly if your future wife is a subscriber. The resulting sarcasm can be brutal and long, even if you were not married to her at the time. Wild Things, with its gratuitous, slo-mo Richards carwash and pool sequences, not to mention the lesbian canoodling, is thus a film I feel guilty even discussing.

That said, it's still a ripping yarn. It has Dillon as a school councillor accused of rape by pupils Campbell and Richards, with Bacon as the investigating cop. The ladies are great: at first, it seems like Richards is the focus, playing a teen-slut-rich-bitch, whose character is entirely defined by her first line of dialogue: "Fuck off!" However, things may not be what they seem; I particularly loved the closing credit sequence, necessary to the plot in a way few feature films ever attempt [the Dawn of the Dead remake being a rare example], and undeniably, the script is beautifully-constructed.

The main flaw is, before long, you discover no-one is what they appear to be, and this does disarm the film a little. The first couple of twists are shocking as hell, but they pile on, to the point where you expect them by reflex. Someone's a good guy? Well, they must really be a villain. And you're probably right to think so. While a little more restraint in this area would have helped, like a combination of Heathers and Basic Instinct, it's got black humour, violence and teenage lesbians. And then, Bill Murray steals the show as a shyster lawyer. Who could ask for more?

October 2006

I'll bring the chocolate pudding
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