Disorder is a psychological thriller that reminded me a lot of Psycho II with it’s story of David Randall (Darren Kendrick) a schizophrenic who was convicted of a brutal double murder, that he has always claimed innocence of, and now has been released and returned to his home town to try to start a new life. He even has a job at a local diner and has a crush on pretty co-worker, the widowed Melissa (Lauren Seikaly) much like Norman Bates in that film. Also, like that 1983 film, there seems to be someone trying to mess with Randall as a masked figure keeps appearing and David witnesses him kill yet, no evidence of foul play or bodies can be found. His psychiatrist Dr. Magruder (Sean Eager) feels he is hallucinating, but David thinks there is some fiend out there trying to frame him, the same fiend who framed him for the previous two murders and worse still, he feels that Melissa is in danger as well. Is there really some villain out there framing David for their foul deeds, or is it all in the disturbed man’s mind?
Despite some glaring similarities to that 80s cult classic sequel, Disorder is actually a well made enough thriller from writer/director Jack Thomas Smith. Smith does have a simple but effective visual style and gives us an involving enough thriller with some nice suspense and mystery. The film only falters with a very slow pace caused by scenes that go on a bit too long and a bit of a repetitiveness especially later on where we feel we’ve already sat through certain scenes already. That and a sort of double reveal climax where first we see the perception of what happened and then replay it as it actually happened. On it’s own it would be fine, but with an already slow pace and certain sequences that seem to go on too long, it becomes a bit tedious in it’s last act. Smith needs to be a bit more deft in his editing. This flick could have been about 10-15 minutes shorter and run more smoothly and more briskly. The scenes involving David’s mother (Ruthanne Gereghty) could have been removed altogether and not sacrificed much. That and, of course the Psycho II similarities which stood out to a film geek like me. Smith does show some potential though and I look forward to his next film Infliction to see how he’s progressed as a filmmaker.
The cast are decent. Kendrick is a bit monotone, though as a disturbed person it does make him sort of creepy yet sympathetic, so it’s not damaging. Lauren Seikaly is the liveliest of the cast making her Melissa a sad but optimistic young woman who is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Thomas Ruderstaller plays Danny, a friend of Melissa’s whose a bit obsessed with her and very wary of David. Ruderstaller gives him a creepy persona and we never quite trust him and maybe we shouldn’t. Rounding out are Gereghty who is fine as David’s mother, Eager who is satisfactory as a typical psychiatrist trying to help David make his transition back to a normal life and Alan Samulski who is a bit flat as the local Sheriff, who is a family friend of David and is Danny’s father. A decent cast when all is said and done.
Overall, I liked Disorder to a degree. It has it’s flaws and is very similar to things seen before. But it also can be effective and director/writer Smith shows promise behind the camera. He has a new film on the way and we shall see if he lives up to that promise.
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) disturbed Davids.