Teens seem to have a lot of angst. They like to have angst regarding what they wear or who they make friends or simply because their hair has a split end. In the middle of their angst, they form groups who share angst. These groups are more pseudo-families where they share experiences and care for each as if they resembled a sibling or a close relative. Enter Normal Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2 where a group of 6 teenagers form a bond where only the 6 of them exists in each other’s hearts. But would this bond step over the line and create a situation that one or more could not bear to take?
Wendy (played by Amber Tamblyn)is part of a group of six friends who have grown up together. They go to school together, they hang out together, and they sleep together. Yes, with each other. Any relations with other people outside of the circle are strictly forbidden. They kinda want to keep their cooties all to themselves, touching I think. Wendy and her brother Nathan (played by Daryl Sabara) meet a boy named Sean (played by Ashton Holmes). Wendy falls for the boy and the two do their best to keep it from the group. The group’s un-official leader, Billie (played by Kelli Garner) finds out about the relationship and is not interested in losing her best friend or a valued member. True love is precious but hard to keep in perspective when 5 other people grow up beside and demand your utmost attention.
Havoc 2 (dropping the long moniker) is basically an okay movie. It starts with about half a dozen decent actors and actresses and fuses together a story about a teenage sex cult. By cult, I don’t mean they end up having a parish somewhere in Waco, Tx and getting burned alive. More like a close knit family who participate in group sex and bad recreations of a fashion runway show. As far as any real family, no parents are seen outside of Sean’s mom, Helen (played by Kelly Lynch) and a very brief appearance of Wendy’s mom who tells Wendy & Nathan that she wishes they were never born. Furthermore there is a party scene that involves Sean which is full of open displays of drugs and sex and other things which are usually kept pretty secret regardless of existence.
My main problem is this, the movie tries to pass itself off as edgy from the open sex to being the unrated cut to drugs to other bad things. However, there isn’t any real nudity (maybe a couple of super quick angle shots), the sex while plentiful isn’t anything over the top. Once you quickly strip that away, there should be a deep story about bonds, friendship and love. In reality, it’s just really average and while the ending rightfully comes across as “What now?”, it leaves too many questions unanswered and too many things just kinda happenstance to wrap up the movie.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The actors and actresses are all handsome and beautiful and it has a very hip look to it. However, the backgrounds and atmosphere feels very plain. A lot of scenes seem to suffer from low light and nothing to show from it except a very weak video display of what is going on in the movie. For 90 minutes, the movie’s look is just very drab.
5.1 Dolby Digital in English is the main language here (2.0 mix is also included). Like the video and everything else so far, it is a very average showing. There is a lot of decent music in the film but it is mostly forgettable due to the seemingly low production of the audio in the film. Dialog is clear for the most part but a lot of conversations seem to be in near whisper when they shouldn’t be. Surrounds are not used often in your basic audio selection. Subtitles are also provided in English and Spanish.
- Automatic Trailers: Butterfly Effect 2, Full of It, & Havoc
- Deleted Scenes 13:44: Three very good deleted and extended scenes that basically strip away a subplot about Helen and her somewhat shaky marriage. It probably didn’t belong in the actual movie but it is an interesting angle the movie could have taken.
- Friends with Benefits: The Making of Normal Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2 14:02: The classic making of featurette adds very little as it gets intimate with what made this film so interesting (in their minds) and how wonderful the director Beth Schacter is. I’ll reserve judgment until I see another film of hers.
- What’s in the Box Character Profiles 3:03: The box was an idea used in the film that every member of the six had a box. They could take something out or put something in but they had to have a reason. This waste of a feature was a quick 30 second video/music montage on each of the 6 members of the group (Ann, Billie, Jonah, Price, Robert, & Wendy) as if they were coming out of the box.
The movie with an overabundance of words isn’t much more than it’s odd title. Its six teenagers who grow up together and practice in some bizarre group where they sleep with each other and look down on everybody else. Then one girl finds another guy and gets tired of the group. People’s comfort zones are ruptured and chaos ensues. The film shows signs of promise but then never seems to capitalize on them. It classifies itself as something that pushes the envelope but seems to fall short. It is an R rated movie due to the strong sexual content but the unrated tag usually indicates something more. However, it feels like a movie on cable more than anything else. Lightly recommended on the basis of wasted potential.
- DVDTalk.com – “Havoc 2 sneaks up on you without an agenda, just an intelligent, circumspect look at what it means to be a teenager, friend, lover and family member in a culture that provides no answers, only ever more vexing questions”