Film: ‘Disturbing Behavior’ – “Who put the acid in my Spam?”

‘Disturbing Behavior’ is a one of those films that isn’t horror and isn’t science-fiction but incorporates elements of both. This in itself means the target audience is a bit fractured, the fact that it is a teen film makes the potential audience even smaller.

James Marsden – who went on to play Cyclops in the first 3 X-Men films, plays Steve Clark a high school senior who moves to the town of Cradle Bay with his family – parents and one sister, following the suicide of his older brother.

Disturbing Behavior

(Photo from awesomebmovies)

The school has a jock crowd called the ‘Blue Ribbons’ who are the pride and joy of the school psychologist. They seem to generally be dreadful people and to only care about those in their clique. One of Steve’s new friends, Gavin – who went on to play John Conner in ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’, is convinced that the Blue Ribbons are recruiting via sinister means as people join them having made unbelievable transformations seemingly overnight.

Steve isn’t convinced… until Gavin joins the Blue Ribbon!

Katie Holmes plays the female lead, Rachel Wagner, which it a bit of a token gesture as she basically spends the movie pouting! However whilst pouting she does play a minor part in helping Steve find a video which Gavin left before he was transformed, then She pouts along as Steve works to uncover what is going on with the Blue Ribbon and the increasingly creepy school psychologist.

There may be spoilers below the picture.


(Photo from marvel-movies.wikia)

The shrink is indeed evil, he has experimented with implants and mind control on various teens (including his own daughter) and the Blue Ribbons are the latest refinement of this plan. There is a glitch with the implant, when the teenager is sexual interested it causes them to become violent!

Steve grabs his sister, Katharine Isabelle from ‘Ginger Snaps’, and tries to escape the Bay, however his parents want him to be chipped too!

There is the predictable happy ending after the school janitor’s electronic rat-deterrent sends the Blue Ribbons crazy and drives them to jumping off a cliff. Steve kicks the shrink off a cliff leaving Steve and his sister – plus Rachel and some very pale bloke, to run away from home on the ferry.

Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor

(Photo from

Gavin doesn’t jump off the cliff with the rest of his brain-washed buddies, instead he appears at the end of the film as a new teacher in a disruptive inner-city school. Except in the director’s preferred version where he instead gets shot on the ferry and dies complaining that he didn’t get to meet Trent Reznor.

In fairness at the time of the film’s creation Nine Inch Nails had only released ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ and ‘The Downward Spiral’, it is the subsequent albums that render Gavin’s dying wish so pitiful.

I had remembered ‘Disturbing Behavior’ as being a good film even if the plot was a bit basic, however it hasn’t aged well as it doesn’t contain enough to be scary or enough science-fiction to be interesting. Which is a shame, however it is still better than Keanu Reeves’ remake of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

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