Wild Things

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 108 minutes Other Extras Cast Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director John McNaughton

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Kevin Bacon
Matt Dillon
Neve Campbell
Theresa Russell
Denise Richards
Daphne Rubin-Vega
Robert Wagner
Bill Murray
RRP $34.95 Music George S. Clinton

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (MPEG 5.1)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles None    

Plot Synopsis

    There are three things that Wild Things has in abundance; sex, lies and videotape. Wild Things is a thriller with more twists and turns than the Great Ocean Road.

    Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) is a guidance counsellor at a high school in Blue Bay, a swanky upper-class town somewhere in America. Many of Sam's female students are attracted to him, including Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards), who accuses Sam of raping her. The police investigate, led by Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon), and Sam is taken to court. His defence attorney is Ken Bowden (Bill Murray), playing an unusually serious role for a change.

    In the courtroom, we are lead to believe that Kelly Van Ryan and another girl, Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell) framed Sam because he refused to respond to their advances. The case is thrown out of court, and Sam counter sues for damages, receiving a very large pay out in a pre-trial settlement. However, as the movie progresses, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems, and nobody is who we think they are.

    This movie has the most number of plot twists that I can recall in any movie that I have seen. Initially, they are intriguing, and the movie is gripping, but right at the very end, I felt that too many plot twists were presented in too short a space of time, including three final plot twists during the end credits.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is just about perfect, with only trivial problems, and these were only noticed because I was specifically looking for them. This was a superb transfer to watch.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was crystal clear and razor sharp at all times. Shadow detail was excellent, and no low level noise marred the transfer.

    The colours were all well-saturated and vivid. Colour-wise, this is an excellent transfer to look at, with strong, clean colours.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very minor aliasing on some venetian blinds and some very slight telecine wobble, but nothing was problematic at all. The transfer was very clean with virtually no film artefacts seen at all.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is English MPEG 5.1. There is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which is the track that I listened to. Under Sound Selection, there is a third option, labelled "surround" which had the effect of selecting the MPEG track rather than any third audio track. I cannot understand the reasoning for including this selection on the menu. Nor can I understand Village Roadshow's return to MPEG soundtracks as the default selection.

    Dialogue was pretty much always clear and easily intelligible, though sometimes I had to concentrate to hear during scenes with high surrounding ambient noise. Some of the scenes were marginally out of sync, but this was never bad enough to be of significant concern, and was more noticeable because I was specifically looking for it.

    The musical score was written by George S. Clinton, and has lots of attitude and aggression, and always suited the on-screen action. A few of the musical themes were a little clichéd, but this did not detract from its overall impact. Much of the movie is underscored with an aggressive, percussive musical score, well-mixed, which envelops you nicely in the movie.

     The surround channels were frequently utilized for music, dialogue and special effects. An aggressive enveloping presence was created by this soundtrack, right from the very beginning, and sustained throughout almost the entire length of the movie.

    The .1 channel was reasonably used for music and for effects.


    There are only very limited extras on this disc. The DVD cover indicates that Interviews and Extra Footage are present as extras on this DVD. They are not present.


    The menu design is reasonable for the main menu, though I found navigation through the scene selection menus very counter-intuitive.

Theatrical Trailer

    The theatrical trailer is present on this disc, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Cast Biographies

    Limited Cast Biographies round out the extras on this disc. These are navigable with a single key press, which is good.


    Wild Things was reasonably enjoyable, though I felt there were too many plot twists right at the end for my tastes.

    The video quality is excellent with only trivial flaws.

    The audio quality is excellent, with an aggressive enveloping mix.

    The extras are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
6th January 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer