Disturbia looks to potentially be a classic thriller; it has the elements of a classic Hitchcock film, and a noteworthy cast. Although Iâ€™m not and never will be a fan of Shia LaBeouf I will admit he has sold me with his performances several times before, but does he have the talent to carry this movie? Regardless there are some other semi-reputable names cast in Disturbia including Carrie-Anne Moss and David Morse, so hereâ€™s to hoping that this flick isnâ€™t a waste of time.
In the opening moments of the movie Kale (Shia LeBeouf, Transformers) and his father are in an accident which results in the death of Kaleâ€™s father. Sometime goes by since the accident when Kaleâ€™s teacher makes a comment about his father, sparking Kale to crack him in the jaw. This results in a three month house arrest sentence for Kale, who in a fit of boredom starts spying on his neighbors with a set of binoculars. Mostly he spies on the girl next door Ashley (Sarah Roemer, The Grudge 2) but after befriending her, his attention turns to Robert Turner (David Morse, 16 Blocks). He drives a blue Mustang just as a suspected serial killer does, but this isnâ€™t enough to sell anyone but Kale. But things become even more convincing when it appears that Turner kills a female visitor. Kale and his friends decide to take this matter into their own hands.
Ultimately I was pleasantly surprised with this film, albeit far from perfection, I thought it was a pretty solid presentation. The performances werenâ€™t anything spectacular but still quite believable, most commendably by David Morse as the sociopath neighbor.
My major complaint about the movie is the slow start and unnecessary romance that is sparked throughout the first third of the movie. But things start getting enjoyable once Robert Turner is suspected of being the serial killer. There are a few rather suspenseful and even thrilling scenes, but nothing thatâ€™s going to keep you on the edge of your seat for too long. Instead what I found appealing about this movie was the classic vibe, the lack of nonsense full slashing, where instead an actual story is developed. What made the movie even more enjoyable was the including of comedic elements throughout the duration, which lightened the mood up a bit. Itâ€™s not your typical teen movie, which is by all means a good thing.
This movie had me interested in the opening moments with the accident, then lost me a bit with the teen romance, but kept me after that. The ending might be a tad predictable but nonetheless Disturbia is worth checking out.
Presented in 1080p 1.85:1 aspect ratio and encoded in MPEG-4, Disturbia comes to HD DVD with some great looking results. Although most of the film takes place indoors, the opening shots of Kale and his Dad fishing showcase some scenery with excellent detail and colors. A good portion of the film takes place in Kaleâ€™s house and even though there isnâ€™t much to see in these shots, everything looks good. From the brightly lit Xbox 360 screen to the realistic looking flesh tones colors look rich and vibrant. Details are equally impressive. The menacing stare of Mr. Turner looks all the more frightening in HD with his evil blue eyes seen so clearly.
A majority of the shots are also in dimly lit settings but the transfer holds up well under these circumstances. Detail seems to loose its crispness occasionally in these scenes, partly due to softness and grain but it never becomes something major. Minor problems aside Disturbia still looks great.
DreamWorks has included an impressive duo of tracks for this release, a 5.1 Dolby Digital EX and a 6.1 DTS ES, both do a great job presenting the films material. The opening crash provides the most powerful aspect of the track, literally sounding as if you were in the crash yourself. From there the track becomes more subtle, with few loud explosive sounds. This is surprisingly a good thing as the highlight of the track is how well the audio builds tension for each scene. Subtle effects such as foot steps are constantly heard from the rear channels. Sub support is equally impressive offering some deep bass throughout the entire film.
Disturbia is a thriller and this subtle but effective sound scheme really helps create a scene. The track could have been a dud given the material but instead of a front heavy track we are given one that enhances the movie experience.
DreamWorks has included a handful of interesting features that are all presented in HD.
- Audio Commentary – Commentary with Director D.J. Caruso and cast Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer.
- The Making of Disturbia – A 15 minute feature that focuses on the making of Disturbia. This making of feature focuses on the actors and their characters instead of costume or set design.
- Deleted Scenes – A set of 4 boring deleted scenes that do nothing to add to the movie.
- Outtakes and Bloopers – 1 Â½ minutes of unfunny bloopers.
- Trivia Pop-Up Quiz – Your typical information pop up that plays throughout the movie. The pop-ups include everyday facts to production information.
- Music Video – Music video for â€œDonâ€™t Make Me Waitâ€ â€“ This World Fair
- Photo Gallery – A set of production stills from the film.
Disturbia is good thriller with some minor problems preventing it from competing with the best. The extra features, although lacking in content, still offer enough to warrant a look. The audio and video presentation is great and is easily enough to recommend a purchase for fans of the film. If you havenâ€™t seen this movie than I recommend a rental first as the teen romance aspect might detour some people.