Double Take: D for Disturbing Behavior

So this week I had two choices that I wanted to do. The other choice was Donnie Darko. I love that movie and I don’t see myself changing my mind on one of my favorite movies of all time. I ain’t mad at Disturbing Behavior. This movie, in 1998, released at the right time. This is when all the teen angst thrillers were coming out giving the young adults what we want from all the teen horror movies coming out at the time. I remember watching this movie and having so much fun watching it. I was a junior in high school at the time so this movie taking place in high school made it easy for me to relate to it. Adding in the horror/thriller element made the film more interesting. Does this movie still hold up to the appeal it had in the late 90’s? I think I will still love it like I did when I watched it 18 yrs ago.

So watching this movie older and more mature now, I came to realize that this movie has some big issues. First of all, let me point out that the cast couldn’t have been so good for its time. They had some really good stars in this movie. James Marsden, Katie Holmes, Nick Stahl, William Sadler, I could go on. However, the film could have used a lot of originality. Don’t trust small towns at all. Brought on with the Stepford Wives of the young generation, you have the town of Cradle Bay. After a tragic death of a family member, played by Ethan Embry, Steve Clark (James Marsden) along with his Mom, Dad, and sister move to this small town to try to start over and move on from the sad death of a family member. There’s something strange in the neighborhood. Some of the kids in his new high school are students who like to do school work, dress in khakis and cardigans. The world must be ending. Keep in mind that these same students were once stoners and lazy good for nothings before this sudden transformation overnight. Steve automatically aligns with Gavin (Nick Stahl) who shows him the ropes at his school regarding all the cliques in school, where to sit, who to hang with, and to avoid the Blue Ribbons.


A small group of students who happen to have the best grades and play a great role on how a modeled kid should be. The cliché’ is that they consist of jocks and cheerleaders implying that they are the best kind of students in high school. Every once in a while the Blue Ribbons become a little destructive and even violent once tempted to act in their sinful ways as youths usually do especially when it involves sex. What is happening to the kids of Cradle Bay? So it’s up to Steve, Gavin, and Steve’s crush Rachel (Katie Holmes) to get to the bottom of this and find out why kids who enjoy doing nothing and being all angst and emo decide to bring a little color into their wardrobe and feel superior over everyone else.


So here is my problem with this movie. Aside from originality, Marsden and Holmes characters have no depth or personality to them. Honestly, these characters could have been played by anyone. Clearly they were cast for their good looks and their rising status in film. It made sense to have them in this film to bring in audiences who watches Dawson Creek, Second Noah, or any other teen show drama or comedy. Nick Stahl is the only character worth paying attention to and we sort of lose him in the second act of the movie. It was difficult for this movie to keep my attention watching it again. Not only because i have seen it before but because there was nothing new to really discover watching it over again. The parents of these kids participating in this experiment with their kids practically had no scenes in the movie to make such decision. Plus when these reformed kids would do something horrible, like kill people, none of the parents did anything about it. Didn’t shot down the operation or its creator Dr. Edger Caldicott (Bruce Greenwood National Treasure’s POTUS). What I will say is that this movie made sense for its time. In addition to the awesome cast brought in, Steve has flashback about his brother when he was alive and the way they did it is that they used imagery as if he was watching a recording on video. I thought that was clever given the target audience is the MTV teen generation who are invested in TV and other technologies. It did appeal to the teens who felt different, outcast or left out. The tone of the movie was a little dark, especially at a time when grunge was pretty popular. What is unfortunate is that on the dvd, there are a lot of deleted scenes to the film that were taken out under the special features. Some of those scenes would have been great in the film had they been put in. Would have given the story more meaning to what is going on instead of things just happening for no reason. Overall, the movie fall flat and would never work with today’s audiences. This movie was rushed and not thoroughly thought out as far as writing. Going back in time to check out this movie didn’t remind me of what I enjoyed about it back then, just left me confused as to why I enjoyed it in the first place. Sad to say that this movie doesn’t age well over time.

+1/2 for some okay action sequences and deaths
+1/2 for par acting. Nick Stahl shined brighter than the rest
+0 writing was not good with this one. Rushed with no substance
+0 I don’t recommend this movie. It’s okay now but nothing to make sure someone watches
+0 I own this movie and it will be a long time before i watch this again.

1 out of 5

Did anyone else like or dislike Disturbing Behavior? Comment below. Until next week moviegeeks.


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