Disturbing BehaviorIn July of 1998 Disturbing Behavior landed on us. Here we had yet another teen movie that was capitalizing on the Scream craze. This one featured Dawson Creek’s own Katie Holmes as a “bad girl”, The Man Without a Face’s Nick Stahl, and Second Noah’s James Marsden in the lead. If you were a fan of Dawson’s Creek, at the time, you pretty much saw this as Joey’s bad girl adventure. I skipped Joey’s bad girl adventure as the film had little interest for me. Scream Factory has prepared Disturbing Behavior for all new generation of horror fans that know Holmes only as Tom Cruise’s baby’s momma, Stahl as the Yellow Bastard, and Marsden as the X-Men’s Cyclops. I was curious about the film, especially with Bruce Greenwood and William Sadler as supporting players. Add to that mix director David Nutter; who has helmed episodes of The X-Files, Smallville, The Flash, and Game of Thrones and I hope that there might be something there.

Steve Clark (Marsden) moves to Cradle Bay with his family after the death of his brother (Ethan Embry). His parents needed a fresh start, but Steve is still haunted by his brother’s death. Steve faces all the problems any kid does who moves to a new town. There is fitting in, finding your new friends, who can you trust, and who is full of it. Steve meets Gavin (Stahl), who quickly becomes his tour guide to the microcosm that is Cradle Bay. At the end of his tour he tells Steve of the Blue Ribbons. The perfect kids who get good grades, help out in the community, and play on the football team. However, there is something wrong with the Blue Ribbons, they are just too perfect. Gavin, believes that they are programmed or brainwashed. Why? Because three of the Blue Ribbons used to be his friends, now, they couldn’t be more different.

The paranoia of a teenager is enough to write its own movie. Throw into the mix an X-Files type atmosphere (the production filmed in Vancouver and had music by Mark Snow, both trademarks of The X-Files), a Valley of the Dolls style story, and you are set. Steve, like any normal teenager (who in the nineties, is supplied to be a teenager, is really 25) needs convincing. After seeing a motor head fight the Blue Ribbons one day and then be a part of their clique the next only half convinces him. Steve still needs two more moments of WTF to believe that all this is actually happening. The final moment occurs when Steve sees Gavin join the Blue Ribbons.

So where does Katie Holmes’ Rachel fall into this story? Well, she has her first big moment with a pierced navel, wire arm tattoo, and nose stud while on top of her car in the parking lot. She is just outside of Gavin’s clique, but more or less a loner. Later she becomes Marsden’s Nancy Drew as the two witness Dr. Edgar Caldecott’s (Bruce Greenwood) PTA meeting on how they are going to correct the mistakes a few of the Blue Ribbons have had. Of course Steve’s parents sign him and his sister up for the treatment. What is so strange is, there really doesn’t seem to be a reason why. Steve’s brother, as we learn, was the one with all the issues. The revelation of that sad story prompts a bond between Rachel and Steve. Together they are going to get out of Cradle Bay.

The film is as by the numbers as you would expect it to be. There have been multiple cuts of the film for both television and home release, however, here we only get a multitude of deleted scenes to watch. There are two of these scenes that are worth watching. The first is the improbable love making scene between Marsden and Holmes in the front of a pickup truck. This explains why he kisses her near the finale. The second is the alternate ending. It was a strange choice made by the studio, to go with the one they picked. The alternate, contained in the deleted scenes, just makes more sense. Read more about the deleted scenes and alternate cuts here on IMDB.

The film is fun for its nineties music, the clothes, Katie Holmes trying to make us believe in the term “Razor” and William Sadler’s rat catcher. You’ll laugh at yourself, because you probably either had those clothes or belonged to one of the cliques from Cradle Bay. Thankfully, we can keep Disturbing Behavior and the nineties where they belong, in our memories.

Disturbing Behavior is out March 22nd, 2016. Order the film here from Scream Factory!

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Our Score

By Robert Trate

In my career as a writer, I have made Doctor Who giggle, asked Ahsoka Tano what underwear she was wearing, and spoke with a Raptor from Jurassic Park.

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