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Want to know why I enjoyed WILD THINGS ($30) so much? Instead of being run of the mill, WILD THINGS is a well crafted little thriller in which nothing is ever what it seems. The plot has all the earmarks of a steamy potboiler, yet there are more twists and turns in the story than there are in the average corkscrew. Set in an upper crust community bordering the Florida Everglades, WILD THINGS starts out as the tale of a high school guidance counselor accused of rape by two female students. As things progress, the plot of WILD THINGS takes at least one expected turn.

However, the rest of the film contains enough surprises to keep the audience on the edge of their seats while they guess about the film’s final outcome. Matt Dillon stars as Sam Lombardo, a social climbing high school guidance counselor who trades on his good looks to attract rich women. Denise Richards portrays Kelly Van Ryan- the rich girl who accuses Sam Lombardo of rape. Richards uses her sex kitten allure to generate more heat than the film’s sweltering Florida location. Neve Campbell is absolutely terrific as Suzie Toller, the trailer trash teen who also accuses her guidance counselor of rape. Kevin Bacon serves as the film's executive producer in addition to portraying Ray Duquette, the lead investigator on the rape case. The cast of WILD THINGS also features Theresa Russell, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Robert Wagner, Carrie Snodgress and Bill Murray in a wonderfully funny supporting role.

Columbia TriStar offers WILD THINGS in both wide screen and full screen versions on opposite sides of the DVD. The full screen version isn't bad looking, if you must watch a film this way. However, I recommend that you just say no to the full screen version. Instead, go directly to the spectacular looking anamorphic enhanced version of WILD THINGS, you won't be sorry. WILD THINGS is framed very close to its full 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio with jaw dropping image quality. Everything is razor sharp and fully detailed throughout the film. Color reproduction is nothing short of amazing. Every richly saturated hue is distinct and completely undistorted by chroma noise. There are virtually no traces of digital compression artifacts anywhere on this superbly authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a solid mix with plenty of ambience, plus well placed directional effects and solid bass. Dialogue reproduction is clean and precise, while George S. Clinton's sultry musical score sounds just marvelous in Dolby Digital. A matrixed Dolby Surround and a French language soundtrack have also been included on the DVD. Subtitles are available in English and French.

The interactive menus have a simple design, yet offer access to theatrical trailers, deleted scenes plus a running audio commentary. The commentary features director John McNaughton, editor Elena Maganini, composer George S. Clinton and producers Rodney Liber and Steven A. Jones. There are plenty of production details in the commentary, plus listening to the talk is almost as much fun as watching the movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed WILD THINGS; it’s a great little thriller, in addition to being a great little DVD. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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