Human Behavior (Derek and Shane Cole, 2006)
[note: review originally published 3Jul2010]
I’m not even sure I know where to begin with Human Behavior, the first full-length feature from brothers Derek and Shane Cole. Though I have to say I did rate it higher than the IMDB average (one and a half stars translates to three out of ten, and the average rating for the movie on IMDB was 2.1 at the time I added mine), so I guess I saw something in it that others didn’t. Still, I don’t mean that to sound like I’m defending the movie, which is crass, obvious, and entirely predictable.
Plot: Steve Rowe, a retired detective (played by Derek Cole), is called in to answer questions about a case he’d worked almost a decade before where he chased a serial killer. Why? Because there’s been a body discovered who seems to be the work of the same guy. Except that it can’t be, because Rowe supposedly killed him. In any case, the bulk of the movie is told in flashback as Rowe describes the comings and goings of two other detectives, Trey Mochston (The Teenage Kevorkian‘s Paul Anninos) and Jason Plithman (The Japanese Sandman‘s Stephen Twardokus).
From here, it’s a paint-by-numbers thriller with marginal acting skills, bad effects, and a predictable plot. I often criticize movies by comparing them to Lifetime Original Movies, but I can’t honestly do that with Human Behavior; even the execs at Lifetime, who wouldn’t recognize taste if it grew legs and did the can-can in their offices (remember, these are the folks who released Destination: Infestation!), would probably have passed on this one had it been offered to them. Yes, it’s that bad. And yet I couldn’t take it all the way down the scale of awfulness for some reason. It does have a watchability to it that springs, fully-formed, from its incredible predictability; because the Cole Brothers took so much of this movie whole from so many other movies (without making any of it seem derivative of any other specific thriller, which is also a point in its favor… kind of), they managed to stumble into a decent sense of pacing, and the camerawork is competent enough to prop it up. Also, the whole thing has a grungy feel to it, the kind of dirtiness one doesn’t see in American movies (but is one of the most common praises you’ll hear for, for example, Fulci’s Zombi 2), and I really like that sort of thing, whether it’s by choice (a la Fulci) or by budget (as I assume was the case here). So yeah, it’s got a redeeming quality or two, at least in my eyes. If you’re looking for Lifetime Original Movie-quality or better, though, you’re advised to steer clear of this one. * ½