The Film (3/5)
When beautiful teenager Steve (James Marsden) and his family move to Cradle Bay after a family tragedy, it’s clear that something sinister is going on in the sleepy town. A clique called the Blue Ribbons has the run of the high school and they seem perfect but occasionally, one of them goes berserk and people get hurt or killed. Steve teams up with a stoner and a sexy bad girl (Nick Stahl and Katie Holmes, respectively) to investigate the local mad scientist (Bruce Greenwood) who is turning kids into overachieving monsters.
TV director David Nutter brings us Disturbing Behavior, a slick teen horror movie from the 1990s that made a huge impact at the theaters on the minds of moviegoers when it was unleashed upon the world. Well, maybe not. It made its money back and people sort of remember it. I enjoy this one as a guilty pleasure that only makes me wince a few times during its running time. I must mention the supporting cast which features William Sadler as a janitor with a secret, Steve Railsback as a cop with a secret, and a young Katharine Isabelle as the little sister without a secret.
If you enjoy this film and are considering upgrading your old MGM DVD or you’re on a 90s horror kick, go for it! Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray looks and sounds pretty damn good in 1.85:1 and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
I believe that the extras from the DVD have all been ported to this disc. There’s an audio commentary with director Nutter as well as a bunch of deleted scenes with his commentary. The director’s cut of this film was supposedly 115 minutes and I kind of wish that there was a version of it here.
I have a fond memory of catching Disturbing Behavior during its theatrical run and not because it’s a classic or anything. No, my friend and I laughed our heads off at this angst-ridden teen horror film with so much wannabe poignant shlock and pseudoscience that it was impossible to take seriously. Surprisingly, this movie has aged better than I expected (which isn’t saying much) and is a fun snapshot of how the horror genre was aimed at the youth of 1998. The music queues are invasive and terrible and the ubiquitous scene where the various high school cliques are laid out is embarrassingly bad. On the plus side, Disturbing Behavior has energy to spare, atmospheric sets and locations, and the cast is very good. While it’s not mentioned in the trivia anywhere, this film has some similarities to Aussie horror flick Strange Behavior from 1981.