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Disturbing Behavior

Music by Mark Snow
Distributor: Sonic Images Records
Retail price: $15.99
Running time: Approx. 42 minutes
Grade: B

One of the problems modern movie-makers have in remaking the great paranoia thrillers of the '70s is that modern audiences not only know all the plot twists ahead of time, but they no longer have any patience for the methodical establishment of mood and character that is essential for such an exercise to be effective.

THE STEPFORD WIVES, which is DISTURBING BEHAVIOR's cinematic antecedant, spent almost half its lengthy running time establishing its characters and the oddly off-center normalcy of the Stepford community before anything truly outlandish occurs. DISTURBING BEHAVIOR hasn't any time for such niceties, and former X-FILES series director David Nutter drenches the screen in such a riot of day-glo MTV colors that there's little if any "normalcy" to be disrupted. The result is sort of a bizarre cross between THE X-FILES and THE REAL WORLD.

One of the few elements of the movie to come off successfully is Mark Snow's score, which comes off as a better X-FILES score than the one he wrote for the X-FILES movie.

While the foreboding atmosphere is there, it's played out on a smaller scale without the moaning, melodramatic stingers Snow wrote for the Smoking Man scenes in THE X-FILES movie. The title theme takes an approach not dissimiliar to John Carpenter's minimalistic keyboard theme to the original HALLOWEEN, and Snow effectively characterizes "Chug's Libido" with rapid-fire, agitated electronic "brass." The rest of the score features various sustained buzzing noises, staccato piano, a clattering, echoed percussion effect similar to one Alan Silvestri employed frequently in THE ABYSS, and some wailing faux-rock electric guitar for the kiddies. "Dickie's Induction/Who's Your Daddy" features some quite Goldsmithian "string" undercurrents, while out-of-tune bells figure early on in the rhythmic "Evil Chairs."

If there's an annoying aspect here it's in what could be called an "electronic tutti" that crashes in on every fright shot. It sounds too much like the synth crashes that used to introduce every promo for A CURRENT AFFAIR; otherwise, this should prove to be another bonus for fans of Snow's X-FILES scores.

Source: Jeff Bond; eonmagazine [www.eonmagazine.com:80/archive/9808/reviews/reviews/music/disturbing_behavior/default-body.htm] August 14, 1998.

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