1998; Rated R; 83 Minutes
Jimmy Marsden: Steve Clark
Katie Holmes: Rachel Wagner
Nick Stahl: Gavin Strick
Steve Railsback: Cox
Bruce Greenwood: Dr. Caldicott
Produced by Armyan
Bernstein, C.O. Erickson, Phillip B. Goldfine, Brent OíConnor,
Scott Rosenberg, Elisabeth Seldes, Jonathan Shestack and
Max Wong; Directed by David Nutter; Screenwritten
by Howard Gordon and Scott Rosenberg
by DAVID KEYES
imagine you remember "The Stepford Wives." I imagine you
know the story which, according to the male characters,
was a perfect one because the women in it obeyed, honored,
and clearly followed everything their husbands said. Ideas
like it are not often accomplished in movies, and such an
idea is a marvelous one (at the time).
comes "Disturbing Behavior," a modern-day retelling of the
Stepford formula, which places teenage kids in the roles
of the wives. Their parents sign them up for a 'program'
which terminates any urges or beliefs they had, and brainwashes
them into molds for their parents; creatures with no purpose
other than to please the people around them.
there's more at stake than most realize. Brainwashing teenagers
might often be an urge for most parents nowadays, but it's
not something to even consider, especially for me. What
makes them gifted and extraordinary human beings is the
content of the character inside themselves, which is formed
over the years by experiences and beliefs within their lifetimes.
You take one look at the teenagers in "Disturbing Behavior"
and you know they've been brainwashed. All of them have
the same identical looks on their faces, and all are all
aiming towards one goal: to please their parents.
face itónot every kid wants to please their parents. You
instantly know that this is a movie, because I doubt any
real life situation would start out with every teenager
at school wearing decent clothes and having a good positive
attitude to please their mothers and fathers. Nopeóit's
just not real life.
is exactly what makes "Disturbing Behavior" a different
type of movie. You know it has to be fiction, because no
such 'program' is available, and there is no possibility
for every kid at school to put their needs behind those
of others. Movies can sometime give us the interpretation
of real life and real issues. "Disturbing Behavior" intends
to keep things original, and intends to make sure the viewer
knows that this stuff isn't real. It could not arrive at
a better time, when the teenage years of today's youth seem
to wander farther out of control.
was not disappointed here. I was creeped out, entertained,
amused, and even appalled at the treatment of characters
in this movie. They start out on the 'always-happy' side,
and end on the 'lemme-outta-here' side. Once one teenager
untamed by the program attempts to set the other teenage
victims free from their parent clutches, they see the horrors
and humiliations that they have been put through by this
so-called 'successful program.' They know they've become
inhuman, and some think the only way out is death.
program, by the way, is one that changes chemical mixes
in the brain activity so that the 'perfect' impulses demonstrated
by the human nervous system are the only things that can
be used by the host. Meaning, in English, that no one under
the program's influence can do any wrong. Nope, no bad habits,
no rude remarks, no cruel feelings, nothing. It's all like
straight out of a Barney episode, where everyone is cheerful
and smiley-faced 24 hours a day.
it doesn't always last. When a new person moves into town,
and is not under the knowledge of this 'program,' she looks
on in suspicion at how nice everyone is at the new high
school, considering that everyone early on in her life treated
her like sheer crap.
don't here. Everyone is her best friend, and it frightens
her. Before long, she becomes aware of the 'program' via
her parents, and narrowly escapes it, all in the end to
attempt to save some of the souls which have already been
affected by it.
going to spoil it for you. All that matters is the fact
that it is creepy, surreal, and very amusing. No, it's not
the type of horror that makes you jump at tense moments.
It's the type of horror like that in "The Omen," where,
once you learn the story, you are frightened for the characters
just as much as you are frightened by the possible resolution.
Who could have predicted at the end of "The Omen" that that
antichrist would still be alive and his parents would be
dead? Sure, we all knew something like it was coming, but
in movies like this, you can't tell what exactly what will
love movies that do this to me. And I loved "Disturbing
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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