Hot stars James Marsden ("Bella Mafia"), Katie Holmes ("Dawson's Creek") and Nick Stahl (The Thin Red Line) set the screen ablaze in this breathlessly fast-paced jolt-fest from veteran "X-Files" director David Nutter. Writ... more »ten by Scott Rosenburg (Con-Air) and featuring a hip soundtrackfrom the hottest bands around, this "clutch-your-armrest thriller" (Teen People) will pull you into the undercurrent of a deranged high school cliqueand drag you away screaming! Achieve, be excellent...and be afraid. For when the esteemed Blue Ribbon club of Cradle Bay High take their slogans too far, things in the small coastal town begin to go wrong. Dead wrong. And when a "dark sinister force" begins turning the school's curricularly challenged into the soulless, academic elitethree "outsiders" join in a desperate race to avoid becoming insidersand losing their individuality forever!« less
Aldo C. (jamesdeanfan81) from SAN GABRIEL, CA Reviewed on 4/29/2014...
More of a comedy than anything, Disturbing Behavior is tale of what happens when parents do not know how to parent their children. The result is this movie where you have this community filled with all types of so called teenagers with all types of issues. And what happens when parents reach their breaking point: they turn their children into mindless freaks. I say avoid this movie at all cost unless there's really nothing else. Even then avoid it.
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Not a perfect movie, but a perfect example...
J. Lucas | Detroit, MI | 03/14/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...of what can happen when a movie is created in a studio conference room. The sheer idiocy of what MGM did to director David Nutter's "Disturbing Behavior" is paralleled only by Miramax's hack job on "54". Good job, guys. We really didn't need to know anything about Steve's (James Marsden) brother's suicide did we? Sure, it would have given the film a whole new dimension, and would have made Steve's bond with Gavin (Nick Stahl) maybe mean just a little bit more within the context of the story. But, out it goes. And, hey, who needs that whole love scene with Rachel (Katie Holmes), anyway? We've already gotten the idea that these two dig each other - let's get on with the show! And wait just a gosh darned minute - do we really need anymore background on an important, pivotal character like Newberry (William Sadler)who gives his life to save the kids toward the end? Nah! And the ending - wouldn't it be so much more profound to have Gavin just kind of show up in some inner-city classroom with chip in his eye than for him to have the powerful final confrontation with Steve on the ferry? Absolutely! MGM screwed up royally with the final cut of this film but, through the miracle of DVD, audiences can now be treated to all of the above-mentioned deleted scenes (and several more that are so riveting you wonder why in the heck...) plus a fascinating audio commentary by David Nutter that gives us a new appreciation for this flawed but intriguing little film. Skip the VHS edition, but do check out the DVD."
Decent plot and acting meet poor writing
CreepyT | Colorado, United States | 11/27/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film starts out well enough, with a family moving to the odd little town of Cradle Bay seeking a fresh start, and an escape from the haunting memory of a son and brother who committed suicide. When the family arrives, the town seems eerily too-good-to-be-true. The "kitschy" small town flare, complete with that "everybody knows everybody else" sentimentality, is almost nauseating. How very cliché (can we say "Stephen King?").
When the family's two remaining children (one of them being James Marsden's character, Steve Clark) head out for their first day of school, it becomes easy to discern, to the viewer at least, that something is horribly awry. Sure, the usual high school cliques are present. However, they seem far too exaggerated. For example, the omnipotent "Blue Ribbons" (a.k.a. "jocks") are the school's best athletes, as well as the school's most academically inclined students. Few exceptions aside, is this generally the case? I think not. Furthermore, these students hang out at a yogurt shoppe. It's no longer the 50's, and most high schoolers have other various hang-outs. Yet another clue that should give the new arrivals some insight as to the odd goings-on in Cradle Bay. However, when Nick Stahl's character (Gavin) attempts to inform Steve Clark of the evil plot that is behind the Blue Ribbons and their oddly uniform characters, Steve remains clueless. It takes Gavin becoming a Blue Ribbon himself to spark the light bulb in Steve's head, and he then decides to discover the root of the evil.
With the help of a fellow student, Rachel (Katie Holmes), and a very cheesily written but well acted school janitor (Dan Zudovic), Steve uncovers the extremely "Stepford Wives-esque" plot. The mad scientist behind it all is unveiled just before Rachel and Steve are themselves to become Blue Ribbons. Together they must find a way out of their predicament before it's too late. Thus, the movie comes to it's extremely harried "grand" finale.
This film seems well-conceived, and probably could have been much better than it was in actuality. It would have been interesting to see more of the teenage angst, rebellion, and struggle for individuality yet desire to fit in developed in some of these characters. Perhaps then they would not have seemed so soulless and one-dimensional. The plot, though cheesy and cliched, began with some decent build up. However, the ending was a bit of a let down. Furthermore, some of the plot elements never quite seem to come to fruition, and the deleted scenes included on the DVD extras only partially solve this problem. Many of the scenes were also far too unrealistic. For example, the creepy, dank atmosphere at the asylum and the completely incoherent nature of every patient there seemed far too over-the-top. Not all of those institutionalized mumble, drool, and traipse around like zombies.
Overall, this film is decent for a rental, but not worth the money to purchase."
Unfairly maligned; slightly clumsy, not awful.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 03/18/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Much has been said about this being a Scream ripoff. Here's my verdict based on my horror-film experience and my observation on the technical execution of Disturbing Behavior:From screenwriting, directing and cinematographic points of view, Disturbing Behavior has NOTHING to do with ANY of the Scream movies.Scream and Scream 2 were self-referential commentaries on the horror genre while frankly (and dare I say not very effectively) using the conventions of slasher films for cheap thrills. The value of the Scream movies was in the comedic elements: The wink-wink, nudge-nudge to people who know slasher films well. The impact of Scream, if it has impact on you, is strictly personal, as are the relationships of the characters. (If anything, Urban Legend is an extension of this approach).Disturbing Behavior is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Sociological in its impact and its intention, broad (and often sketchy) in its character depictions, and completely uninterested in its own genericism, Disturbing Behavior is a conventional suspense-action piece. It doesn't rely on gore effects and slasher-film conventions; for example, one of the most disturbing scenes in Behavior is the scene of near-seducton that ends in masochism -- its impact comes not from physical danger (as in Scream and the slasher-film tradition) but from the concept. Same for the rest of the story -- the question is not whether these kids will get their heads chopped off; it's whether they can retain their own identity. And that is NOTHING that the slasher-film tradition offers because, as shown by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the forefather of all slashers, the slasher film's chief weapon is simple, straight-forward physical danger.The look of Disturbing Behavior is more noir than slasher, and its storyline is a dead-serious social commentary. Kind of like a much less complicated version of 1984, and limited to young people instead of the whole society.I actually liked Disturbing Behavior even if its faults are legion -- Marsden's questionable acting, the lack of real depth of the Katie Holmes character (though she tries for more), and a slipshod narrative structure. It's worth a look for writer Scott Rosenberg's bleak view of the institution of education.Disturbing Behavior is no classic. But to lump it in with Scream (admittedly, the marketing campaign for Disturbing Behavior *did* try to cash in on the horror audience rejuvenated by Scream) is convenient, shallow, and an act of ignorance as to how the two movies respectively work."
Yup. High School was this bad.
J. Arena | Williamsburg, VA | 01/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""It's a new kind of cool." No, it's not the adolescent Stepford Wives, but a serious commentary on society's demands for conformity in high school and beyond. Nich Stahl puts in a brilliant pre-Carnivale performance in a wonderful film that withstands the scrutiny of miltiple viewings. This is definitely worth the purchase price."
5 stars for genius of idea, 2 stars for implementation probl
Ian Williams | 12/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most people in these reviews(and everywhere else) bash this film on a level that should be reserved for the Hulk. They either fail to take into account or choose to ignore the fact that it is a rags to riches film in terms of coming from the shallowest, campiest and most cliched of genres(teen movies) to some of the best social commentary and overall psychological creepiness around. First off, the acting, for the lines, is great. Whatever bs the reviewers feed you, they did great with their lines, and this movie still lists on my top ten good bad movies of all time, if not #1. The Bad Points: cut a lot of stuff that added depth to the story, though some of it did hurt pacing a lot. characters needed to be more fleshed out. This is the most common complaint, though it isnt really fair, since almost all movies except super duper high budget ones suffer from things like this, due to time limitations and such from their tight budget. Campy as all hell, and i loved it. If you dont like campy movies, fine, but dont go in expecting a teen movie to be shakespeare and i wont cut off your breeding rights for the sake of humanity. Over the top and cliched. The most valid complaint there is. It's really again a question of two things they didnt have: budget/filming time. If they had the budget of even a third of a LotR movie maybe this would have been movie of the year, instead of a campy teen flick. or maybe not. But anyways, it's like being given a broken erector set and doing the best with what you have.
And now the good:
soundtrack: awesome as hell, if you're into rock music at all. If not, the previews should have cued you in. Also totally appropriate to the scenes it plays in, outlining the already painful teen angst and whatnot. Also, the opening music is the most wondrous and at the same time creepy music i have heard and seen, when combined with the visuals of implanting an optic chip.
Social Commentary: stepford wives clone this is not, so please stfu and die. Yes, many of the same ideas, but in a much different direction, different audience, and im sure even that was far from the first in its genre, just the first people remember. It deals with the twisted ins and outs of high school cliques(and much later society, since practically every social power group tries to lord it over everyone else), and the parents obsession with MAKING their children perfect. And how it backfires on them. This really brings parallels to the sad, pathetic war on video games to divert attention from parental responsibility that is going on now.
Atmosphere: like all great horror flicks, whether awesome campy b movies like this one and say, in the mouth of madness, or grade a ones like event horizon, this movie consistently delivers several types of deliciously awesome atmosphere that just seeps into your pores. First off, there is the atmosphere of the outsider, which is what everyone except the shiny happy people have to live through in high school, dealing with being a social(and often literal) punching bag for the high school elite. Then there is the creepiness, its like one of those great zombie or alien movies, invasion of the body snatchers maybe, when you never know if someone is going to become one until its too late. Also is the underlying pain of change and such that teenagedom essentially IS, which is underscored by steve's brother, and by his moving to a new hope(cradle bay) only to find that it festers with more psychological rot than the one he left by a wide margin.
Writing: campy but good. Part Army of Darkness, especially in its funny moments, part dawson's creek, and part manchurian candidate, or something, its a great mix of all the manic moments you encounter in those years, from the disturbingly tragic to the funny as hell, but all with pain as the bedrock.
Characters: Awesome. For how cliched and stereotyped this movie can be if you look at it in a high acting style, they work amazingly well in this movie. The director talks about how they all hung out and bonded off screen onset, and i think it really shows in the chemistry they exude in many of the lines. Katie holmes is by far the best, though almost everyone does great here in their stereotypical roles, but especially the major supporting characters are also awesome, as is the main character.
Overall: this movie impacted me so greatly i became obsessive when i first saw it, though admittedly i was a confused teen at the time. My friend has often said that this and another of my favorites, Dark City, are two sides of the same social commentary, dark city being serious, and disturbing behavior being satire. I would say now, that disturbing behavior is that most disturbing of psychopaths, the satirically serious, much like the demon in fallen who sings rolling stones songs all the time. It is a great movie if you like fun, intense, thought provoking, campy or creepy movies like John Carpenter's older stuff, Dark City, Event Horizon, Manchurian Candidate, Cabin Fever, Phantoms, Army of Darkness, etc..."