Wild Things 4K Blu-ray Review

Exactly what it purports to be – sleaze

by Simon Crust
SRP: £29.99

Wild Things Review

So you're the new chicken licker!

There is something wonderfully trashy about Wild Things. It seems to do and say all the right things for it to end up being exactly what it purports to be – sleaze. It also helps that it is almost completely wild!

Wild Things starts off like a poorly acted 80’s soap opera, it then morphs into something a little darker, more akin to a sexual thriller, then takes a left turn to become a crime busting whodunnit before going off the rails in its twisty-turny narrative before ending up in crazy town and going all out bonkers with its ultimate resolution (a blond Nerve Campbell …? Pffff ridiculous!)

Directed by the same John McNaughton of Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer fame, but working just within the studio’s brief, he delivers a film that is sunny and bright on the surface but has so much darkness underneath, while riding a winding narrative that threatens to derail at any moments, yet somehow manages to keep it together despite some bananas ideas. By keeping his audience guessing where the story was headed and filling the narrative with sexual imagery, the argument has been made that, despite the frivolity, there is a dark, noir story lurking below – this argument holds merit; that is exactly what the film delivers. However, it is difficult to get past the lunacy of the ideas, the provocative nature of the sexual scenes and eventual throw-away attitude of the piece.

Filled to the brim with young, hot talent, the likes of Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Denise Richards (who is probably still riding the sexual train she boarded with this film) and Neve Campbell (who was clearly looking to do the same, and was a big draw for the film due to the sexual nature of the trailers, but never quite managed it) and then – bam! – Bill Murray, who should be out of place but fits into the bonkers nature of the film perfectly.

Predominantly known for a couple of its more risqué scenes, the whole is actually pretty forgettable, and it really doesn’t bear up to scrutiny, despite the valiant effort from all involved.

Wild Things 4K Video

Wild Things

Wild Things was shot on 35mm film using Panavision cameras and, according to the blurb, has been newly scanned and restored in 4K from the original negative by Sony Pictures Entertainment, from which this UHD is sourced.

The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image, in the widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, uses 10-bit video depth, High Dynamic Range (HDR), a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for Dolby Vison and HRD10.

We reviewed the Region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Wild Things on a Panasonic TX-65HZ1000B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Panasonic DP-UB450 Dolby Vision HDR10+ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

... HOT

A sunny and bright picture has a great deal of detail on show, the plentiful skin has clear texture, while clothing demonstrates weave . There are keen edges to buildings, boats and beach rocks, while close-ups reveal sand grains, splintered wood, fingerprints on chrome, fraying ropes, readable documentation, grasses and leaves – with hardly a move towards softness.

The WCG and HDR, in Dolby Vision, showcase stunning colouring; bright summery colours are blisteringly bright, reds, pinks, blues, greens – everything shimmers. And perhaps this is my one gripe; it is hot and bright, but perhaps too bright, leading away from naturalism to something akin to over-saturation. I might be being picky, and it is supposed to be blistering heat, but to my eyes it seems pushed a tad too far.

Black level is deep, giving decent frame depth, there are some good shadows as well, but it is with the white scale the image really, ahem, shines. It is bright, and whilst I lambast it above, when it comes to white it really pushes the image, check out the detail within the white clothing, or sails, marvel at the highlights, from chrome to sunlight glinting of water, it is seriously almost blinding!

Digitally there are no compression problems, the grain structure is intact and resolved really well, while the original source has cleaned up very well with only a few blemishes glanced.

Wild Things Audio

Wild Things

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track is beautifully well separated, showcased expertly during the opening credits when the score ebbs and flows in the mix, then comes together with the crowd of students amassing for the assembly, one of the best uses of the format around. Dialogue is natural sounding and dominated by the frontal array, though the odd flourish of directionality works well when needed.

Bass is tight and well controlled, though seldom plumbs any significant depth, but is used to fill out effects and score to good measure. Surround channels showcase a decent amount of ambience and effects mirror the screen action to perfection. The score makes good use of all the channels to form a cohesive surround bubble.

Review System: Denon AVR-X4300H, MK Sound LCR750 and SUR55T, XTZ S2 Atmosphere ceiling mounted, SVS PB-12 Ultra.

Wild Things 4K Extras

Wild Things

All on the UHD, and have a mix of new and legacy content.

Audio Commentary – Touted as ‘new and exclusive’ with director John McNaughton and producer Steven A. Jones

Audio Commentary – With director John McNaughton, cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball, producers Steven A. Jones and Rodney Liber, editor Elena Maganini and score composer George S. Clinton

Exclusive new interview – With John McNaughton

Exclusive new interview – With Denise Richards

Making of documentary

An Understanding Lawyer – Outtakes

Trailer

Illustrated collector’s booklet – Featuring new writing on the film by Anne Billson and Sean Hogan

Double-sided fold-out poster

Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions

Reversible sleeve – Featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Hadley

Conclusion

Wild Things 4K Blu-ray Review

Wild Things

Wild Things, from director John McNaughton, is difficult to define in terms of narrative; it meanders between genres with an overarching attitude of frivolity but lurking beneath is a dark sexual noir. The twisting narrative tries to constantly pull the rug from under the audience and eventually ends up in looney-town. But despite the best efforts from all involved it cannot escape what it really is – ultimately forgettable.

... looney-town

The native 4K set from Arrow is pretty good; the image is bright, colourful, detail with strong blacks and beautiful whites, even if it appears to my eyes that the HDR is pushed a tad too far, from natural to garish. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround track is used to good effect with decent dynamics, and a palpable sense of surround and ambience. While the extras package is supplemented with new and legacy material. Nice!

Arrow presents Wild Things on 4K Ultra HD from 23 May.

Scores

Movie

.
.
.
.
6

Picture Quality

.
.
8

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Extras

.
.
8

Overall

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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