The movie Disturbed (1990) follows a psychiatrist who takes on a new patient, a musician that believes he is being tormented by the ghost of a former patient. As the psychiatrist delves deeper into the musician’s case, he begins to uncover a twisted web of deception and murder.
Dr. Derrick Russell is a respected psychiatrist in Los Angeles. One day he is approached by Malcolm Rivers, a famous musician, who believes he is being haunted by the ghost of a former patient named David Kellum. Malcolm claims David committed suicide while under Dr. Russell’s care and now his ghost wants revenge. At first Dr. Russell is skeptical, but there are too many strange occurrences happening around Malcolm that cannot simply be coincidences.
Dr. Russell agrees to treat Malcolm and soon becomes consumed by trying to uncover the connection between Malcolm and David Kellum. Through flashbacks it is revealed that David was a troubled young man under Dr. Russell’s care. During a hypnosis session, David recalled being involved in a satanic cult ritual where a young woman was murdered. Before David can reveal more details, he runs out of the office in a panic.
Dr. Russell discovers David’s body soon after, an apparent suicide. However, the details around David’s death are suspicious. Dr. Russell starts to believe Malcolm was involved and may know more about the satanic cult and the young woman’s murder. Disturbed (1990) builds suspense around Dr. Russell’s investigation into Malcolm’s claims of being haunted by David’s ghost and whether there could be a more sinister explanation.
Malcolm continues to assert his innocence, but his erratic behavior convinces Dr. Russell that he is hiding something. Dr. Russell even hypnotizes Malcolm and uncovers repressed memories of the same satanic ritual David described. It becomes clear Malcolm and David were both involved with the cult and the woman’s death. The movie Disturbed (1990) takes a dark turn as Dr. Russell confronts Malcolm and accuses him of actually killing David to cover up their sins.
In a climatic ending, Malcolm confesses that he did murder David by making it look like a suicide. David was going to go to the police about the cult so Malcolm had to stop him. But Malcolm swears the woman’s death was an accident during one of the rituals. He begs Dr. Russell for help, claiming the ghost of David is trying to kill him as revenge. Dr. Russell questions his own sanity as supernatural events begin plaguing him as well.
- Malcom McDowell as Dr. Derrick Russell
- Michael Ironside as Malcolm Rivers
- Jennifer Jason Leigh as Allison
- Elias Koteas as David Kellum
The movie Disturbed (1990) was filmed in Los Angeles, California. Malcolm McDowell performed all his own stunts in the film including a scene where he was set on fire. Director Charles Winkler had previously worked with McDowell on the cult classic A Clockwork Orange.
The New York Times said the movie “keeps you guessing until the very end.”