Disturbia (2007)

Genre(s): Drama / Mystery / Thriller
DreamWorks || PG13 - 104 minutes - $29.99 || August 7, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-07-23


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer(s): Chistopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth (screenplay), Christopher Landon (story)
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Aaron Yoo


Theatrical Release Date: April 13, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Cast Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Making of Disturbia
  • Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up Quiz
  • Outtakes
  • Music Video
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), French (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

As a well-calculated and suspenseful thriller, Disturbia is as good as it gets for a PG-13 rated flick. Yes, it takes more than one cue from movies of yesteryear, especially Rear Window. However, director D.J. Caruso manages to shake things up throwing in teen comedy and general drama along with the thriller genre. In one instance, Kale (LaBeouf) and his bud Ronnie (Yoo) are caught spying on Kaleís hot next-door neighbor as she swims in the pool. Now, think back to The Girl Next Door starring Elisha Cuthbert... Nerdy boy spies on his sexy neighbor undressing. She catches him and next thing we know, the doorbell rings. Not saying Disturbia stole this (hell, itís not a new concept anyway) but it was surprised to see it in a thriller.

On my second viewing, I did notice it take its good old time to get the plot rolling. Also noticeable, on the other hand, the scares were less scary. This is not to say it's still not good, but knowing when the scares come certainly shades things differently (and not being in a dark theater plays a part). That said, I still enjoyed the other elements from Shiaís awkwardness with his neighborhood watch (especially with Sarah Roemer) to David Morseís underappreciated part as the mysterious next-door neighbor. The thing about Morseís performance was he wasnít in the film that much and yet still had the screen presence to make the entire film work.

Outside the fact the movie wasnít quite as effective as I hoped, it still retains repeat value. Even though Iíve probably reiterated some of my thoughts above, here is my theatrical review:

ORIGINAL REVIEW (EDITED):
Plenty of movies try to emulate the Alfred Hitchcock thrillers of yesterday and so far, the results have been, letís just say, poor. Disturbia is the latest thriller, taking/borrow heavily from the story of Rear Window and take it to today.

Disturbia takes its time developing tension and suspense but it never becomes tedious or boring, thanks, in part, to the charisma of rising star Shia LaBeouf. The Kale character, as Ashley states in the movie, is either creepy or sweet and while some might perceive him as the former, his charm and appeal actually makes his voyeuristic actions at the very least tolerable rather than creepy.

The supporting cast is fine and fills each role appropriately, from Carrie-Anne Moss making her first good post-Matrix appearance, young Sarah Roemer -- a stunning young actress and, IMO, Jessica Biel look-a-like -- as the sexy girl next door to Aaron Yoo as the goofy best friend, they each fulfill the parts.

The one standout, other than LaBeouf, is one of my favorite character actors, David Morse. While this isnít his best performance, he does demonstrate a versatility. Some movies he can play the corrupt cop (16 Blocks) or a nice guy caught in a untenable situation (Proof of Life), but in Disturbia, not only is he disturbing (and disturbed), but he has a level of intimidation that translates to a certain amount of screen presence (not unlike Raymond Burr in Rear Window).

Director D.J. Caruso, while not even close to being Alfred Hitchcock, shows something new as he not only develops suspense, but also sustains it as well. Sometimes, thrillers can build suspense only to have it all fall apart in the finale. In Disturbia, the climatic scene/sequence builds everything to a fever pitch making the film as good as it was.

Disturbia may not be one of the best suspense-thrillers; it certainly is on my list as one of the better of the 21st century. Bold statement for sure, but rarely have I gripped the armrest so much. However, like any genre, if you cannot buy into these characters, their situations or the story as a whole, you might not find the suspense very suspenseful. I, on the other hand, enjoyed every minute and have no hesitation recommending this.

Rear Window this is not, but how many thrillers can match the intensity of suspense or the charismatic dynamic of Jimmy Stewart? Disturbia surprisingly comes close and I can only imagine how much better it couldíve been under the direction of someone like M. Night Shyamalan, then again, this doesnít have a nonsensical twist either, just good old fashioned thrills...

Disturbia may not be one of the top movies of 2007 -- it is one of most surprising oneís. The trailers make it look like yet another teen thriller but this film will entertain every one of all ages.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Director and Cast Commentary - Director D.J. Caruso and cast members Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer record a track together and while most of it is light and fun, it became a tad annoying hearing Caruso reiterate about shooting in three different locations (he mustíve mentioned this at least six times). During the commentary, Caruso received phone calls from various people (his agent, Aaron Yoo aka Ronnie) and even though I didnít mind it, some may think itís obnoxious.

Something of interest was Caruso points out that the track was also being video taped. I donít know if this is an HD-DVD/Blu Ray exclusive, if not, one wonders if an unrated version is in the works.

Deleted Scenes (4:34) - Four throwaway scenes are included. These just go over what was already in the movie and were rightfully excised.

The Making of Disturbia (14:51) - Less than typical Ďmaking-ofí featurette looks like it was made for television. The entire cast gives their insights on each other and making the movie.

Also included is a short set of Outtakes (1:26), a repetitive Trivia Track (if you are like me and have it on along with the commentary), Music Video, photo gallery and the theatrical trailer round things out.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Disturbia is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.85 OAR, and looks crisp and clear of any scratches or dust. The black tones seemed to be right on and everything looked perfect.

Unfortunately, the audio didnít seem to fair as well. It is a dialogue heavy movie and while the musical score is utilized (especially toward the end), I noticed a few things that seemed to be too soft (like the car accident). Itís still OK, but there didnít seem to be much depth.



.::OVERALL::.

Disturbia may not have held up as well as I was expecting, but the suspense was still effective and add in some decent extras makes this a worthwhile purchase. No, itís not going to be revered in the same way as Rear Window but I think it at least deserves attention for what it is: a good Friday night flick.