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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 6/24/99

Disturbing Behavior
1998 (1999) MGM Home Video

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Disturbing Behavior Film Rating: B+

Disc Rating (Video/Audio/Extras): B+, B+, A

Specs and Features

84 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, commentary track with director David Nutter, deleted scenes with optional commentary, theatrical trailer, 4 page production booklet, video for The Flys' Got You (Where I Want You), animated film-themed menu screens with music, scene access (36 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and French, Close Captioned

Before I start this review, I want to say that I really enjoyed this film. I do feel it was a bit cliched, and most everything came as expected, but that aside, I thought it was very well made, and well written, and I want to buy me a Katie Holmes, and I don't care how much they cost. She's so damn cute! Like a little puppy. If I get one, I promise to love it, and take care of it, and feed it everyday. Swear.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk about the film. Director David Nutter -- and we know he's a director, not just by the fact that his name appears in the credits as director, but also because he says this factual nugget about 135 million times in his commentary, made a very good film. He brought all the elements together so that they jelled -- atmosphere, acting, and dialogue -- it all works great. Disturbing Behavior is the type of teen horror film that I think is way better than Scream or I Know What Jennifer Love Hewitt's Breasts Look Like On A Movie Poster.

As for it being cliched - at this point all horror/teen films are. You're going to have to go a long way to surprise people these days. I think what brings DB up, is the characters. Each and every one of them are well crafted by the director, writer and cast. Nutter should be very proud he pulled the performances he did out of such a fine group of young people.

The film, set outside Seattle, focuses on teenagers being teenagers, and what happens when society tries to make the kids conform. The kids at Cradle Bay High are suddenly finding a student achievement organization, known as The Blue Ribbon club, swiftly growing in numbers. One day, a student will talk back to the teacher about a C- on a test, the next day he's on the chess team and pulling straight A's. It's sounds good... but there is something evil going on behind the scenes. A small group of outsiders slowly puts the pieces together, and finds out that something very sinister is going on at those PTA meetings. But what is it? Who's behind the whole thing? Why does my wife look at me strangely whenever Katie Holmes pops up on the screen? Some of those questions have answers in the film, and I suggest anyone who likes a good horror/sci-fi flick take a gander at this disc. If you've already seen the film, you might want to check it out anyway - it's loaded with special edition stuff.

The DVD comes with a commentary track that starts off with the director letting us know that he's not making his directorial debut with this film - he's directed plenty of hip and cool TV shows like The X-Files and Millennium. He repeats this factoid about every 10 seconds when he litters the commentary with tidbits like; "I've wanted to work with this person again even since I discovered them in Canada while I was directing X-Files." We also get treated to the fact that Nutter knows how to pick music for movies, because he has a degree in music theory, or history, or some such. How a piece of paper gives you heightened ability on a subject is beyond me - but he does have a point, the music is pretty good in the film. Between the cool soundtrack, and the Mark Snow score, it's a treat to the ears. Overall the commentary track is simply okay - you can live without it, but it's there and that's always a good thing.

Another huge extra is the 11 deleted/alternate scenes, that give the already well-drawn characters even more depth. You will understand the motivations a bit more by watching the cuts - and the commentary track here actually helps, because Nutter lets you know where they fit into the film. It's all very cool, especially the alternate ending, and an extended scene featuring a cameo from a certain Can't Hardly Wait star. Other extras include the booklet that MGM throws in, a trailer, the Flys' video for Got You, and 16x9 enhancement.

The video and sound quality are both up there. There is a little bit of video noise in some of the really dark scenes, but the film's vibrant color and cinematography are well presented. The sound is average DD 5.1 fare, with no major quirks or problems that I could hear.

Disturbing Behavior isn't your average teen rebellion film. Nor is it your average horror film. It's actually pretty good, and I'll watch it again. Exactly why I'll watch it, has nothing to do with Katie Holmes. Ah, who the hell am I kidding - yeah it does. Ouch. My wife is hitting me.

Todd Doogan

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