As I watched Disturbing Behavior for the very first time yesterday evening, something about it seemed strangely familiar. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was quite similar to The Faculty, which was also released in 1998. In The Faculty, high school students are turned into aliens by their extraterrestrial faculty members and in Disturbing Behavior, high school students are turned into robots by their human faculty members. And, of course, each film has “the new kid in town” main character (typical for 90s teen flicks). After reading a couple of articles about the film, many compare it to The Stepford Wives (1975). I’m guessing this is due to the human to robot transformations, but that’s really the only connection I noticed. Despite all of the similarities it has to other films, Disturbing Behavior does a good job of standing out on its own. It’s campy sci-fi horror with a dash of high school drama, and I really enjoyed the film.
Steve Clark (James Marsden) and his family move to the small town of Cradle Bay after the tragic suicide of his older brother. Like all new kids, he immediately connects with a couple of outcasts at his new high school, Rachel Wagner (Katie Holmes) and Gavin Strick (Nick Stahl). As the film progresses, some “disturbing behavior” begins to occur in the group known as the Blue Ribbons, a clique of popular kids decked out in letterman jackets. With the help of a wacky janitor, Steve and Rachel find out the horrific secret behind the Blue Ribbons and attempt to stop their reign of terror.
It’s always great to see Holmes in a “bad girl” role since she’s best known for being the girl next door in Dawson’s Creek. I really enjoyed her in this film because she is great at pulling off the “misunderstood teen” look and attitude, and the chemistry between her and Marsden is pretty damn hot. She starred in the music video for The Flys’ hit single, “Got You (Where I Want You),” and I always assumed she was selected to be in the video because she was a pretty big teen idol during the time it was released. It turns out that the song made its debut on the Disturbing Behavior soundtrack (it plays in the opening scene and during the credits), so that’s probably the reason she was in the video. Mystery solved!
Viewing Disturbing Behavior through a critical lens makes it a horrible viewing experience, and that’s because it’s not a film that should be taken seriously. It’s loads of mindless fun and totally worth a watch or two.