Ahhhhh, late 90s teenage angst. Without it, horror movies would have been few and far between in the 90s. Disturbing Behavior is one such teenage angst horror film that came out after the big Scream boom in 1996, along with several other horror films that all looked the same (The Faculty, Urban Legend). It’s a flick that hooks its claws into the fears of teenagers not fitting into and the ultimate test of growing up: peer pressure. Sure, it’s all wrapped up in a story about mind control, sex and violence, but deep down inside it’s all about fitting in versus individuality. As for the Blu-ray side of things, Disturbing Behavior comes courtesy of Scream Factory in a package that doesn’t provide any new special features, but does have a solid presentation. Read on to see if it’s worth picking up…
[tabby title=”PRODUCT INFORMATION”]
RUN-TIME: 84 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1998
RELEASE DATE: Mar 22, 2016
[tabby title=”PLOT SUMMARY”]
James Marsden (the X-Men films), Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) and Nick Stahl (Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines) star in this pulse-pounding sci-fi chiller from director David Nutter (Game Of Thrones, The X-Files).
In the halls of Cradle Bay High School, something sinister is happening… something dark… something disturbing. Sure, the “Blue Ribbons” – the clique that’s at the top of the food chain at Cradle Bay – appear perfect in every way. But underneath their clean-cut, well-mannered facades lurks a shocking secret – one that a group of Cradle Bay High’s outsiders and rebels must uncover in order to save their school, their town… and their own lives.
[tabby title=”Disturbing Behavior”]
Something isn’t right in the small town of Cradle Bay. The jocks are highly intelligent, run charities and every once and awhile, they flip out and kill someone. Steve (James Marsden), along with his sister, Lindsay (played by Katharine ‘oh my gawd she is so young looking in this movie’ Isabelle) have recently moved into town and it doesn’t take long for Steve to see that something is odd with the kids. Steve becomes friends with Gavin (Nick Stahl), who tells him all about the weird things that are going on in Cradle Bay, but Steven doesn’t believe him, that is until other people around him start having 180-degree personality changes. Soon, Steven along with his new love interest Rachel (played by Katie Holmes, who, before becoming tainted by Tom Cruise, was super hot) start investigating the mystery and their lives are put on the line. Time is running out for Steve, as his parents want him to fit in, so they sign him up for the “program”, which is run by the creepy Dr. Edgar Caldicott (Bruce Greenwood). Will Steve and Rachel figure out the mystery before it’s too late and will the teenagers in this movie realize how terrible their clothing choices are? I’ll never tell!
Disturbing Behavior is a fun flick, but with a troubled history. The film was heavily cut up, resulting in a confused plot that bounces from one scene to the next and never properly expands on the story. There are roughly 24 minutes of deleted scenes, plus an alternate, much better ending included on the disc that include all the plot threads and details that were cut, much to dismay of director David Nutter. It’s easy to see why the film feels like a stitched together mess when you have that much plot development axed. There is also the problem of the movie not focusing enough on the reprogrammed kids. I would have loved to see more scenes involving the crazy flip outs they experience, but alas, we only get a few here and there.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, though, as the version that we got is still a really good horror flick, with some fantastic performances from our three leads, plus a nice, small, but important role by William Sadler (Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight). It also has an amazing soundtrack by The X-Files alum Mark Snow, with a fantastic opening theme.
Even with all the hacking and slicing in the editing room, Disturbing Behavior still provides a coherent enough story that begs for more once the end credits roll (no matter what ending you decide to watch and go with).
[tabby title=”Blu-ray Opinion”]
Scream Factory missed an opportunity here with this Blu-ray release of Disturbing Behavior. They could have gone all out and gave us a director’s cut version of the movie, with all new interviews and special features, but alas, that is not the case with this Blu-ray. Instead, we get ported over DVD features, such as an old commentary with director David Nutter, deleted scenes and a trailer. If you own the DVD, you’ll be disappointed on the features side. I do understand that the audience probably isn’t there for a big CE release of the movie, but sometimes you just got to take a chance and this time the chance wasn’t taken.
As for the audio/visual side of things, at least, I can tell you that Scream Factory did a great job there, as there are no complaints from me.
[tabby title=”Special Features”]
Audio Commentary By Director David Nutter
Disturbing Behavior gets lumped in with all the other late 90s horror films that all looked the same, but there is still something special about this movie that makes it worth checking it. It has some wonderful performances and some truly awful wardrobe choices. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory is basically a DVD upgrade only, with not much new save for some solid audio and video.