‘Appropriate sparks are flying, somebody cue the power ballad...’
Having watched all the most prominent ’90s teen horror flicks over the last few weeks, I’m very much scraping the barrel by this point. Disturbing Behaviour is definitely part of the B team of teen horror movies, and yet, I still found plenty here to enjoy…
Following the death of his older brother, Steve Clark (James Marsden) moves with his family to a new town. Upon arrival, it becomes clear that there is something wrong with the inhabitants of Cradle Bay Island. Steve does find some solace in a group of outcasts featuring talkative loner Gavin (Nick Stahl), bad girl Rachel (Katie Holmes) and weird but lovable stoner U.V. (Chad Donella). An eclectic cast is rounded off by a woefully underused Katharine Isabelle as Steve’s younger sister Lindsay, William Sadler as the local village idiot and Bruce Greenwood as an enigmatic school counsellor.
A pretty solid cast then for such a low-budget movie with prominent TV director David Nutter (Game of Thrones) behind the camera and prolific writer Scott Rosenberg (High Fidelity, Con Air) on script duties. The result is a film that is very much of its time, but one that I enjoyed. The characters are broad but ultimately endearing with Marsden and Stahl doing much of the heavy lifting, but Holmes also does well in a departure from her usual roles and the whole thing is just self-aware enough not to become annoying. There are some terrible lines of dialogue here, but there is some good stuff as well, and while the film tries too hard to be funny, there are a couple of moments that are genuinely creepy.
All in all, Disturbing Behaviour is a kill-by-numbers teen horror movie, but it is weird enough and fun enough to justify a viewing – particularly at only 84 minutes.