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Disturbing Behavior
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Disturbing Behavior (1998)

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Plot Summary:
"The new kid in town stumbles across something sinister about the town's method of transforming its unruly teens into upstanding citizens."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 26 August 2003 My Rating: out of 5


Butchered by the MPAA, Disturbing Behavior was Katie Holmes first hiatus effort and despite it's huge success in the united states, it did not quite get the treatment it deserved here in the UK.

After the death of his brother Allen, Steve Clark and his family move to Cradle Bay to start anew. Upon arrival everything seems to be perfect, until Steve begins to notice strange things about the students at Cradle Bay High.

Steve's new stoner friend Gavin has conspiracy theories about mind control and naturally Steve is sceptical, that is until Gavin turns up at school with a new clean cut look and positive attitude.

Essentially an extended episode of the 'X-Files' the film is quite good but is far from scary. The cast including Katherine Isabelle and Chad Donella are very good and have all gone on to work on big Hollywood projects.

Director David Nutter creates a good paranoid atmosphere for his young cast but there ultimately just isn't that much for them to do, so certain characters appear to just pop up at moments of high drama, which are few and far between.

There are some weird scenes that may unerve slightly but there aren't many scares. This film is a classic example of what good publicity can do for a mediocre movie. If only this film hadn't been trimmed by the MPAA it could have been a lot better.

There ultimately isn't anything that scary here, but it is entertaining enough and it's nice to see so many of the ensemble cast have all made major marks on the Hollywood circuit in subsequent years.

Reviewer: Ben Aslett @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

After watching this film one thought is left in your mind; this film has a drastic resemblance to The Faculty. Well, to be truthful it is unfair to compare this Disturbing Behavior to The Faculty. They were both made in the same year so one could not be branded a rip off of the other. Yes the storyline has the same concept; new kid in school stumbles across the fact that the pupils are being controlled by something else and fights them to save the day and win the girl. Yes the cast is full of 'beautiful people' James Marsden, Katie Holmes and Katherine Isabelle to name a few. And yes they were both targeted for the exact same audience (the reason for the same rating) but the comparison stops there. Disturbing Behavior is on a different level to The Faculty. It may not be a higher one but it is a different one nonetheless.

Disturbing Behavior does offer something different to The Faculty. Where as in The Faculty the whole overtone is lighter and slightly more relaxed, Disturbing Behavior's is more dark and sordid. This brings a different depth to the film.

The Faculty had some big names for this film to live up to. It did live up to it but only by the skin of its teeth. Nick Stahl put in a stunning performance as Gavin. The insecurity was just oozing out of him. Until he changed that is. It was in the template to happen. When the Blue Ribbons caught up with Gavin the film seemed to slow it's pace. This was the character that was holding the film together then he did a one-hundred-and-eighty. The job was then left to Katie Holmes, Rachael, and James Marsden, Steve.

What we have come to expect from Holmes was showing in this film. She only really got to her character in the last quarter of the film which was a shame because she began to blossom. Marsden's character was perfect for the film yet his acting suffered. The job was left for Gavin too much and not enough for Steve. Still commendable though. Not forgetting the crazed janitor, played with real flare by the brilliant William Sandler.

The main story was not entirely original but it still managed to pull it off well. This, again, was mainly down to the character of Gavin. Not the lead but should have been. His friendship with Steve keeps the film alive and exciting. They were constantly plotting, questioning, looking for the answer even if Steve was a sceptic at first. Then the Blue Ribbons convert Gavin and the film seems to loose it's edge because the story becomes unoriginal the ending predictable. You could guess that Steve and Rachael were going to foil the plot. The plot was in deed foiled. At this point the movie starts to pick up. Maybe slightly too late but it is a praiseworthy ending which is much better than The Faculty's. The Blue Ribbons turn into Zombie-like creatures and start to gang up on the 'untouched'. This brings for some classic scenes. They surround the house like a pack of wolves, they attack the mouse deterrents like mad dogs. All the time remaining in the zombie role. With the dramatic car-over-waterfall ending this film draws to an acceptable conclusion.

I've said it so many times but I'll say it one more. This film could have been a Faculty, but wasn't - and I mean that in a good way. This is due to the great work done on the story and directing. This film pulled itself out of the shadow of The Faculty and made it in to it's own. An enjoyable watch even if the ending does go down hill slightly. It was never going to be as famous as its counterpart but that's what made it good. It didn't try to be big and succeeded to please the viewer.

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