Disturbing Behavior (1998)
Watched October 25, 2009
Warning: Some spoilers follow.
"In Cradle Bay, it doesn't matter if you're not perfect. You will be."
Steve Clark (James Marsden) and his family just moved to Cradle Bay. On the first day of school, Steve notices that there is a group, the Blue Ribbons, who seem a little too perfect. Steve and his friend, Gavin, stumble upon the fact that a crazed doctor is transforming previously unruly students into completely perfect teenagers. It's up to Steve, his new girlfriend Katie Holmes, and some random janitor character to stop the Blue Ribbons and the doctor before they all fall prey to his nutso scheme.
I think the 1990s were probably the worst time for horror in recent history. Sure, there were your Screams here and there that were awesome and are classics, but for the most part, the films were just kind of "eh". Case in point: Disturbing Behavior. The film is never particularly good, but never spectacularly bad. It's merely forgettable. It's merely "eh".
But, honestly, I'm going to give the film a little slack as it is one of the many flicks over the years that was butchered to pieces by its distributor. I haven't seen a "director's cut" of the film, nor do I have the DVD, so I cannot watch the deleted scenes. Therefore, I have to judge the film on the cut that was shown on MGM-HD. It's not the theatrical release cut, as that has a "deleted love scene" with James Marsden and Katie Holmes. So, I assume it's the cut from the DVD release, which is supposed to pale in comparison to the director's cut. But, the film wasn't too good to begin with, so I'm not going to watch it again just to watch the director's real vision. I figure it's more or less the same.
Enough about theatrical release cuts and the like! I am here to tell you whether or not you should spend your precious time watching Disturbing Behavior. But, the problem is I don't really know how to answer that question. At first, I would say no. But then I would regret that decision, and say yes. But then I would say that it doesn't really deserve a full recommendation. So I'm just going to compromise, and say maybe, if the plot appeals to you.
The acting is acceptable, with the best actors in the movie being Nick Stahl as the paranoid Gavin, and William Sadler as the janitor character. Even though the janitor character is really stupid and pointless (why is he going so far out of his way to help these kids, even going as far as to kill himself to stop the doctor's plot?), I must admit Sadler did a good job portraying him. And Gavin, the best character in the movie, is greatly helped by Stahl's acting.
Speaking of Gavin, I don't think the filmmakers did the right thing converting him into a Blue Ribbon halfway through the film. The character was probably the most interesting thing about the entire movie, and after he becomes a Blue Ribbon, the movie becomes less interesting.
Overall, the movie isn't very good. But it isn't horrible. I'm going to use my favorite word again, and say it's just "eh". Eh. If you do choose to watch the film, don't expect anything great, and don't expect to remember much of it in a couple of months. If you don't watch the film, you're not really missing anything. "Disturbing Behavior" gets:
3 out of 5 chainsaws (AVERAGE)