Back in 1985 the film Clue, featuring a dynamo of a comedy cast with Tim Curry at its head, made a mockery of the murder mystery genre, and it did so expertly. 25 years later we’re still getting many films every year where the writer and director attempt to pull a fast one on the audience by throwing red herrings left and right. Some films have excellent hooks that you just never see coming, while others are as predictable as the Disney sequel that just reverses the plot points of the original.
Now, put Clue out of your mind and think back to the 1998 mystery thriller Wild Things, featuring Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Matt Dillon, and Bill Murray. Was it a masterpiece? No, but it had a nice little mystery wrapped up in a soft-core porn package. It was trashy, shallow, and relied heavily on its cast to carry it through its theatrical run. It has its own special place carved out in sleazy mysteries. Did you see its 2004 direct-to-DVD sequel, Wild Things 2? Or how about Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough? Did you even know there was a second sequel? Well, now there’s a third sequel and it’s every bit as trashy, shallow, and unnecessary as the others. How does it compare to other DVD debuts? I’ll tell you this much up close, at least it’s better than Into the Blue 2: The Reef, which had no redeeming value whatsoever.
Unlike Into the Blue 2, the creative talent behind Wild Things: Foursome are willing to take credit for what they did. Director Andy Hurst gives us a candy-coated weekend feature with an overly complicated story that starts out with a lone red herring, but eventually grows it into an entire school that almost takes the film into the realm of farce. Imagine the most convoluted soap opera murder mystery storyline you can and then just copy and paste it five times over itself for the hell of it.
Carson (Ashley Parker Angel) has a silver spoon permanently wedged in his mouth, and takes advantage of it by throwing house parties whenever his world-class racecar driver father (Cameron Daddo) is out of town. If his relationship with his father is rocky, then Carson’s love life is just deplorable. He has a blonde cheerleader (Marnette Patterson) for a girlfriend, a brunette as the flirtatious foil to his girlfriend (Jillian Murphy), and a third who plays a manipulative role (Jessie Nickson) just so the movie’s title makes sense. At first glance there seem to be well-drawn lines separating these girls as they all seem to have a past and complicated relationships with one another. However, after the death of Carson’s father and with the son’s inheritance seemingly locked away in an untouchable trust fund, the lines begin to blur as a conspiracy amongst the four lovers comes into focus showing just how desperate these four are to never have to work again, because god forbid they ever work a day in their spoilt, young lives. Did someone kill Carson’s father? Who is the mastermind behind the plot? Who is really the mastermind behind the plot? No, really, who is the real mastermind behind the plot? The film takes so many twists and turns, not to create any real intrigue, as the poor acting and writing make that a non-issue right up front, but as what must have been intended as the ultimate exercise in extraneous manipulation of the audience’s trust. Then, as if all the twists in the film itself weren’t enough, the film expounds upon them during the credits just to show you how far logic was stretched to make all this possible.
But if you’re watching this, if you took this off a shelf at Blockbuster or added it to your queue on Netflix, then you’re probably not looking for plot. You want the beautiful people getting naked and doing bad things. The Wild Things series is the penultimate example of what happens when soft-core porn writers get too ambitious and try to flex their “plot” muscles.
For further clarification of the film’s repute, John Schneider of The Dukes of Hazzard plays the detective putting the case together – yet he has chosen to omit his credit from IMDb. Surprised?
DVD Bonus Features
None, save for a huge selection of previews for other movies.
"Wild Things: Foursome" is on sale June 1, 2010 and is not rated. Mystery, Thriller. Directed by Andy Hurst. Written by Howard Zemski & Monty Featherstone. Starring Marnette Patterson, Ashley Parker Angel, Cameron Daddo, Jessie Nickson, Jillian Murray.