Disturbing Behavior

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono)
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 80:22 minutes Other Extras Music Video - The Flys - Got You Where I Want You
Cast Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director David Nutter

Columbia Tristar
Starring James Marsden
Katie Holmes
Nick Stahl
Bruce Greenwood
William Sadler
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Mark Snow

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes, some sound cues after credits

Plot Synopsis

    Disturbing Behavior has an interesting pedigree. MGM is the studio that released it, Roadshow Home Entertainment and Hoyts funded it, and Columbia Tristar distributed it internationally. Disturbing Behavior is also a very short movie, running a total of 80:22. Take out the opening titles and the end credits which run for 8 minutes, and this leaves a total of 72 minutes for the movie itself. Even this short running time seems excessive, especially early on in the movie.

    The plot premise and its development seem very promising on paper, but the actual execution of this movie is ponderous in the extreme. You know you are in for a hard time of it when a large chunk of the early part of the movie is spent in unnecessary expository dialogue meant to introduce you to the various factions at Crystal Bay High School. It sounds and looks very clumsy, and sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which requires an inordinate suspension of disbelief to believe that the events depicted are in the slightest bit plausible. Admittedly, towards the end of the movie, it turns more into a slasher flick, which can be enjoyed without your sense of reason and logic getting troublingly in the way.

    Steve Clark (James Marsden) is a teenager whose family has moved to Crystal Bay from Chicago following the suicide of his brother. He enrols at the local high school, where we learn (through the endless expository dialogue mentioned previously) that there are several factions at the school; the petrol-heads, the pot-heads, the skateboard-heads and the Blue Ribbon Club. These are the ones to watch out for because they are all so perfect. Gavin Strick (Nick Stahl) has it all figured out - there is some form of mind control going on involving the Blue Ribbon Club, but one day Gavin is enrolled in the "program" and turns from being a pot-head into a model Blue Ribbon Club member. Steve feels obligated to investigate.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear. Shadow detail was excellent and there was no low level noise.

    The colours were perfectly rendered, with no tendency towards over- or undersaturation.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. The only fault I could pick with this transfer was several large white blotches in the transfer between 53:33 and 53:36, in a scene featuring a long shot of a ferry.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1, and French Dolby Digital 5.1. The default soundtrack is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is the one that I listened to. I noted that the audio bitrate is higher than is usual for Columbia Tristar transfers, at 448Kb/second.

    The overall level of this movie seemed marginally low, and I increased it a little to listen to the movie. This seems to be a common issue with recent Columbia Tristar DVDs.

    Dialogue was frequently muffled and hard to make out over the background music and ambience, which made the story even harder to follow.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by Mark Snow suited the style of the movie aptly - there was a lot of bass energy in this score.

    The surround channels were used for ambience and for special effects, though most of the effects tended to be placed in the front soundstage rather than being fully enveloping, a minor disappointment considering the style of effects that they were. I felt that there was considerably more potential for the use of the surrounds during this movie.

    The .1 channel got heavy use from the score and from the odd special effect.


    This disc has a limited selection of extras.


    This is a standard 4:3 menu, with no remarkable features.

Theatrical Trailer

Cast Biographies

Music Video - The Flys - Got You Where I Want You

    This is presented at an aspect ratio of 4:3 with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono-sounding sound.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     There isn't much doubt here that the version of this movie to go for is the Region 1 version.


    Disturbing Behavior requires an inordinate suspension of disbelief. At best, I would consider this as a rental disc.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good but dialogue intelligibility is somewhat problematic at times.

    The extras are passable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
10th September 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer