Directed by D. J. Caruso
Distributed by Dreamworks Home Video
Let me be blunt; this movie should have sucked. It had everything going for it that I normally cannot stand — a silly title, a hot young cast, proposed watered down PG-13 horror, an MTV look, you name it. Needless to say when it came time to go see it in theatres, I did so reluctantly and without anything even remotely resembling an open mind. There was one thing though, one glimmer of hope nearly lost among all the shit swirling around this film — director D. J. Caruso. This guy, as much as anyone else out there, has proven that he has the chops to be a good filmmaker. If you have any doubts about him, one look at The Salton Sea would surely change your mind. Yet, could this very talented cat save an entire film from cliche mediocrity? Oh my god, yes!
Disturbia tells the tale of Kale (LaBeouf), a troubled teen who ends up on the wrong side of the law and, much to his chagrin, now spends his time serving out a sentence of house arrest. At first things don’t seem too bad. He’s got TV, junk food, and video games to occupy his time. It’s smooth sailing until his mom (Moss) decides to be an uber-bitch by canceling his Xbox Live subscription (I would have killed her way before any psycho had the chance to). Kale is then forced to find other means of entertainment.
Good thing for him a new hot chick (Roemer) just moved into the neighborhood! Before you can blink, Kale finds himself watching her through a set of binoculars. This would become his daily ritual until something else catches his eye. No, it’s not another nubile teen. It’s the creepy demeanor of his other next-door neighbor, Mr. Turner (Morse). Slowly Kale begins to uncover information that leads him to believe Turner is actually a serial killer responsible for the disappearances of several local women. Could there be any weight to his notions or is Kale just another dumb teen with an overactive imagination?
That’s the story in a nutshell, and surprisingly enough Caruso turns it into a winner! Disturbia plays like a hybrid of Rear Window meets Fright Night with a dash of Poltergeist sprinkled on for good measure and good frights. For a far more in-depth review of the film itself, check out our theatrical Disturbia review here. I pretty much agree with every single word of it so in the interest of not sounding redundant, let’s cover the supplemental material, shall we?
Things kick off with a feature length commentary the likes of which I have never heard before. Caruso, along with stars Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer, shows up not just to talk but to party. In fact, this is one of the most candid commentaries ever. Cell phones are answered, junk food is eaten, and everybody has a good time. There’s one annoying thing though … LaBeouf. Unlike most out there, he doesn’t bother me so I’m not jumping on the hater bandwagon. Truth be told he adds a lot to the commentary. The trouble here is that he’s barely near the microphone and at times you have to strain to hear him. Couldn’t someone just mic him? Didn’t anyone bother to check his levels? I mean what the fuck? *shakes head*
Not into listening to a commentary but still want to get the facts behind the movie while it’s playing? Just activate the Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up option. Once initialized, every so often a fact about the film will pop up via stylized subtitles to share with you both insight and nonsense. This is a cool feature, but honestly, it’s been utilized much better before on films like Shaun of the Dead. Still, at least we have the option, right?
Next up is a fifteen-minute making-of featurette with your standard cast and crew interviews. Maybe I’m just jaded. These things seem to be getting more and more cookie-cutter each time that I watch them. If you’ve listened to the commentary and watched the trivia track, there is nothing else to be learned here. Just going through the motions.
From there we’re treated to four angsty deleted scenes that have a total run-time of about four minutes. Not much to see here, and their omission seems pretty justified.
And finally we get the basics: a ninety-second outtake reel, a photo gallery, the theatrical trailer, and a whiny music video from the band This World Fair titled “Don’t Make Me Wait”. Again, just going through the motions. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that this is a bad package. It’s without question a competent one. The material included here is just easily forgettable.
Disturbia is a film that shocked me. If I remember correctly, it enjoyed a several week run on the box office charts and with good reason — once the ride begins, it never lets up. Though it doesn’t break any new ground, Disturbia does deliver a memorable viewing experience, one that reminds viewers that it’s not a rating that makes a movie, it’s the quality of the film itself. Just please … no sequel. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably be writing a review for it next year sometime.
• Commentary with D. J. Caruso, Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer
• The Making-of Disturbia
• Deleted scenes
• Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up
• Music Video: “Don’t Make Me Wait” by This World Fair
• Photo gallery
• Theatrical trailer
4 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5
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