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sometimes , when i decide to write a short story or a poem , i think of a title first , and then think of a subject to go with it .
it seems that the makers of disturbing behavior had a similar train of thought when it came to the title sequence .
i wouldn't be surprised if a couple of guys got together and created the opening credits , and then someone saw it and made up a story to go along with it .
the title sequence is so good , so ominous and original , that it had me engrossed before the picture even began .
of course , my attention dwindled shortly into the film .
disturbing behavior , like so many thrillers , starts off interesting and ends up laughably ridiculous .
it's a teen horror film with no interesting violence or sex .
it's a suspense film with no suspense .
it's an evil small town story with no story to speak of .
it's a disaster , a listless and uninspired disaster , that just barely misses one-stardom because of a few good sequences , a mercifully short running time , and one terrific set of opening credits .
our main man is a fellow named steve clark , blandly played by jimmy marsden .
he moves to a small town with his family after , tragically , his brother shoots himself .
steve is very upset about the untimely death of his brother ; we learn this through strange home-video like nightmares that he has occasionally .
the big trial for steve is , of course , to fit in at school and make new friends .
marsden looks like your stereotypical jock down to the last detail , so he seems a poor casting choice for a social reject .
as a social reject , he falls in with some pretentious dope-smoking philosophers , gavin ( nick stahl ) and rachel ( katie holmes ) .
gavin informs steve that the local group of jocks , known as the blue ribboners , are actually a bunch of zombies , assimilating new members into their group , while sporadically killing innocent people .
so , it's up to our group of mismatched protagonists to 1 ) solve the mystery , and 2 ) do something about it .
by the end of it all , something has happened and things have been explained , but the film still doesn't make any sense .
disturbing behavior was written by scott rosenberg .
i've seen his name around recently ( he was one of the toucher-uppers on the armageddon script ) , and i imagine that , for the most part , he knows what he's doing when it comes to screenwriting .
he did , however , have a complete lapse in judgement when he got the idea for this film , and then decided to actually take the time to write it out .
evil small town films are pretty common ( the last one , phantoms , is also a dismal failure ) , but it takes a lot of skill to make the formula work .
rosenberg's script is a complete mess , lacking in even the most basic attempts at characterization .
and it makes no sense , nor is their any purpose when things are finally " explained . "
there is supposed to be an element of surprise when we see what is happening to the jocks , but the film never explains exactly what * is * happening .
they get strapped to chairs , a microchip is inserted into their eyes , and -- poof -- they become sex-crazed , superviolent , machine-like creatures .
the doctor responsible for all this , dr . caldicott ( bruce greenwood ) , must be pretty nuts for thinking that this kind of behavior is a step up from the way high school jocks actually behave ( or , perhaps , this is the only realistic element in the film ) .
much of the writing is simply bad , and rosenberg has no intuition when it comes to the way high school kids act .
in one terrible scene , gavin explains to steve all of the high school cliques , while pointing them out in the cafeteria .
up front , i should say that , in four years of high school , i did not eat in the cafeteria even once .
that aside , the various social groups he points out are general , uninteresting , and poorly-shown .
for instance , he points to the " nerds , " who are all wearing glasses and playing with their laptops .
it's such an obvious cliche that i can't believe rosenberg even bothered .
most of the dialogue is forced ( no one says , " bite me ! "
anymore ) , and none of the scenes have any degree of wit .
this picture is not inspired , and most scenes flop from one to the other , with no sense of momentum or energy .
the blame for this can be placed on director david nutter , who apparently likes his films dry .
horror films should at least exploit violence , but this one is shockingly timid .
there are a few good scenes , though , such as an interesting trip through an insane asylum ( this is , however , the most forced scene in the film , for how our heroes get there or why they bother are things we never learn ) .
i also liked the school janitor character , played by william sadler .
he has a few lines that are surprisingly thought-provoking .
the acting is largely a waste of talent .
marsden is , as i said , bland ( thought not particularly bad ) .
bruce greenwood is shamelessly wasted .
stahl and holmes both show they have talent , but the direction isn't good enough to hone in on their skills ( stahl's performance seems more like a parody of high school potheads ) .
none of these characters expand beyond their one dimension , and , frankly , watching cardboard cut-outs of human beings run down hallways while screaming just isn't all that cool .
disturbing behavior is a wreck of a film , and it started out a wreck before shooting even began .
i'm surprised there were producers who read this script and thought that it would make a good film , or that it would make a lot of money at the box office .
it's not boring , or even blatantly awful , but it's an uninspired lump of a film .
it sure starts off nicely , but the regression into total absurdity is so consistent that the very last scene is outright laughable .
so , if you go to see this film , take my advice : appreciate the credit sequence , and pray it never ends .
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