Nearly a quarter-century ago, it would’ve been a joke to say Wild Things is worth watching because of the plot. But here we are in a world where it’s just not that difficult to find something as sexually salacious as John McNaughton’s infamous swamp noir. Star Kevin Bacon famously called it one of the trashiest scripts he’d ever read. And how! The story never stops twisting, breaking its narrative spine in a half-dozen ways while becoming increasingly entertaining in the process. You kind of have to see it to believe it.
Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) is a high-school guidance counselor accused of rape by popular girl Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards) and social outcast Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell). Lombardo protests his innocence; fortunately, sex crimes investigator Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) believes him and starts an investigation into the two women.
That’s the plot for about 20 minutes before everything turns on its head. Twenty minutes later, another twist turns that second premise on its head. And so on and so forth. It never stops to explain itself. The credits feature scenes that fill in gaps in the characters’ relationships. It’s silly. It’s, uh, wild.
Arrow’s new release features 4K restorations of both the theatrical cut and the unrated edition. I watched the latter. Wild Things pretty famously features a lot of nudity and sex, in particular from Richards and Bacon, whose penis is visible in one shot. Again, modern viewers would probably be less scandalized by the level of sexuality here. Lots of critics like to complain about modern films shying away from this type of content, but in fact, modern television does it all the time, and we all see it every day on the internet, so why would anyone need the cinemas to show us side-boob and simulated sex? I digress. My point, I guess, is that Wild Things is well worth watching for the utter silliness of its central mystery.
This new home video release by Arrow also features an exclusive new audio commentary by McNaughton and producer Steven A Jones, as well as an older commentary track with McNaughton, Jones, producer Rodney Liber, editor Elena Maganini and composer George S. Clinton. New interviews with McNaughton and Richards are included, as well as some older making-of features. The physical goodies in the deluxe edition include a double-sided fold-out poster and six double-sided lobby card reproductions. A booklet of essays is also included.