In the halls of Cradle Bay High School, something sinister is happeningsomething darksomething 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.
In DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, after the death of his brother, teenage Steve Clark, and his family move from the city of Chicago, to the small, coastal town of Cradle Bay Washington. Initially, Steve has difficulty adjusting, and fitting in within his new surroundings, but soon finds a friend in Gavin Strick. Gavin, who likes to get high, and listen to metal, is quick to introduce him to Cradle Bay High's select groups. Groups such as the Motorheads, the Skaters and the Nerds, and yes, Cradle Bay High's most coveted, "Blue Ribbon Club" The club, whose members wear matching, blue jackets, are much more than jocks, they are the perfect teens, who seem to do all of the right things. It is a group that Gavin urges Steve to stay away from and with good reason. Steve, Gavin and Gavin's pals, Rachel and U.V. maintain, while watching, as some strange things develop. Soon, people whom don't quite fit the Blue Ribbon mold, are suddenly joining the fold. Suddenly, those normally rebellious, are now, prim and proper. Gavin is more than convinced that these awkward, and sudden transformations, are the product of some strange program overseen by a one, Dr. Edgar Caldicott, and that everyone is in on it, even the parents and the local Police. But Steve is not so much a believer. However, when Gavin too, becomes a Blue Ribbon himself, Steve has no other opinion but to believe in foul play. This leads both he and Rachel to a mental institution where they discover that Caldicott once tried a mind controlling procedure on his own daughter, but failed. When it comes down to it, it is revealed that the Blue Ribbon Club, are the result of a mind altering procedure, in which a computer chip is placed in one's eye, causing a subject to both look and act perfectly, thus abandoning their previous personality. With Gavin now a Blue Ribbon, it is now Steve's turn, whose parents have already signed up for the program. Will Steve make it out safe, or will he too become the perfect, seemingly mindless, teen?
DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, directed by David Nutter, is one of those late '90s films that became a staple of teen Horror. This film along with films like THE FACULTY, SCREAM, and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, are all films that anyone who grew up in the 90s should be very familiar with. DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, I guess, would be considered by some as being the least popular of this bunch - but personally, I have always liked it. It is a slick teen thriller, with some campy overtones.
If you haven't seen DISTURBING BEHAVIOR before, on its surface, it is basically a riff on the classic "The Stepford Wives" story by Ira Levin("Rosemary's Baby"). But instead of robotic housewives, it's programable teens. It is also similar to the film, STRANGE BEHAVIOR from 1981. While it cannot claim to be original, at is at least a fun take on the idea that still plays out fairly well, 18 years later. It progresses well throughout, but yes there is always that level of camp that follows it, especially in the film's last act.
Aside from its story, other areas in which DISTURBING BEHAVIOR is enjoyable, are its acting, as well as its soundtrack and score. I really liked the film's cast. James Marsden as "Steve Clark", Nick Stahl as "Gavin Strick", and "Katie Holmes(who, here, looks the best that she has ever looked), as "Rachel Wagner". Other support comes from a young Katherine Isabelle, as Steve's sister, "Lindsay", William Sadler as kooky Janitor, "Dorian Newbury", and Steve Railsback, as crooked cop, "Officer Cox". And as for the music of the film, the music soundtrack is filled with alternative Rock from the time. The film also features a great traditional score from Mark Snow of X-FILES fame, that at some points, really drive the more suspenseful scenes.
I am aware that my review is relatively short, and lacking in detail, but that is only because I can't say anymore than what has already been said about DISTURBING BEHAVIOR over the years, by countless others, other than my likes and dislikes. If you are a fan of Horror, especially teen Horror, then chances are that you have already seen this film. And if you haven't - see it!
When it comes to the film on Blu-Ray, and its HD transfer, the results are good, but not great. I mean, prior I had the film on DVD, and here, I only note a slight improvement in terms of overall picture. The sound is good as well, but if you are content with the quality of the DVD, I stay stick with it.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Overall, I have always kind of enjoyed DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, as a more modern take on the Stepford Wives idea. It's pretty slick, hip or whatever you want to call it. It's enjoyable, but admittedly, it does get a little overly cheesy near its end(especially the ending itself). But all in all, it is still a good time.
Special Features include
- Audio Commentary By Director David Nutter
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending
- Theatrical Trailer
This film will be released on Blu-Ray on March 22, 2016