Disturbia (2007)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 16, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Paramount (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 100 minutes
The Movie
Director: D.J. Caruso Starring
Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Aaron Yoo
Screenplay: Christopher B. Landon, Carl Ellsworth
Music: Geoff Zanelli
Tagline: "Every killer lives next door to someone"
Country: USA
Several years ago there was a quite funny kids TV show on the Disney Channel. This show was called Even Stevens, and was about the older sister annoying adventures of a 'tweenie' by the name of Louis Stevens. It was almost like a clean, sub-adult version of Revenge of the Nerds, though on the Disney Network, obviously without bush. The real stand out performance in this film was by the young actor who played Louis, Shia LeBeouf, who very easily could have gone the way of the 'Urkel' and found himself either holding up convenience stores, selling the story of his evil stage parents to the National Enquirer or doing DTV porno flicks.

Luckily for young Mr. LeBeouf, his talent was a bit more than some of those other one-trick child actors, and after a few false starts, such as the amusing side-kick in I, Robot, he managed to get himself some work which shows him to be evolving into a competent actor. One of those movies was The Transformers, the other, this film, Disturbia. He was probably lucky his character in Even Stevens relied more on his comedic timing and acting ability than his looks (as a kid he was a little goofy looking, but never to Urkel standards) or a clever catch phrase.

Whachu talkiin' 'bout, J.R.?

This film was written by Christopher B. Landon and Carl Ellsworth, writers of Red Eye, and was directed by D.J. Caruso. Also of note, Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero of KNB Effects oversaw the Special Make-up effects, so you know they will be effective. It also won three Teen Choice awards in 2007, for best Breakout Male and Best Actor in Shia Lebouf, and for best Horror/ Thriller.

Kale Brect (Shia Lebouf) has gone off the rails. After witnessing the death of his father, Daniel (Matt Craven) in a horrific car accident, Kale has become moody and self-absorbed, and maybe a little guilty as he was the driver, and has been constantly in trouble, much to the dismay of his Mum, Julie (Carrie Anne Moss). This all comes to a head when a comment about his father made by his Spanish teacher Mr. Gutierrez (Rene Rivera) pushes Kale to punch him in the face, in front of the other students. Kale is arrested and placed under house arrest for three months, coincidently during the summer break, and with his obviously disappointed mother cancelling his iTunes and Xbox online accounts, he turns to voyeurism for entertainment. He is eventually joined in his Peeping Tom-ism by friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and luckily for him, he has several places of interest to observe: the guys screwing his housemaid, his new hot neighbour Ashley Carlson (Sarah Roemer) who likes long leisurely swims and practicing yoga, or the mysterious comings and goings of Robert Turner (David Morse) who Kale eventually believes to be a serial killer - one who may still be practicing his craft, and is becoming aware of the fact that he is being watched…

The best way to describe this film is to imagine John Hughes in his prime, say in about the 16 Candles/Breakfast Club period, remaking Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, with John Cusack straight off the back of Say Anything. This film has the teen appeal, with Hitchcock's meticulous build-up and a tormented, misunderstood teen performance by Lebouf that is straight out of a handbook written by either Cusack, or maybe Judd Nelson. Sure this film is fairly obvious and the story is well telegraphed by everything from the tagline to the poster, but it just works.

Special mention in this film go to David Morse for his intense performance which is creepy, and yet slightly charming, and to Carrie Anne Moss, for providing a hot 'Mom' character that truly is the epitome of the acronym M.I.L.F.
A new release from a big distribution company, well what do you think the picture will be like? An impeccable transfern presented in anamorphic 1.78:1.
The soundtrack on this film is presented in 5.1 surround sound and has no problems at all.
Extra Features
A decent set of features on this disc:

The commentary is provided by Caruso, LaBeouf and Roemer, and is an informative, conversational one, and quite clearly done in one take, judging by the phone call Caruso receives from his wife in the first ten minutes. I hope he remember the Scotch tape and the fax rolls, otherwise she would have been pissed!!

The Making of Disturbia is a usual 'making of' feature, with interviews with Producer Joe Medjuck, Director D.J. Caruso, writers Christopher B. Landon and Carl Ellsworth, and actors LaBeouf, Morse, Moss and Roemer. This is a light, but decent documentary on the making of the film.

Deleted scenes mainly show some scenes extended, that quite possibly played the Mum as too much of a good guy, and you don't want that in a film aimed at the ten market. PARENTS ARE THE ENEMY, don't forget that, kids!!

Serial Pursuit Pop-Up Trivia Game is quite an interesting feature. Like the old music video show 'Pop Up Video', this has little 'pop-up' text bits that inform not just about the making of the film, but also irrelevant stuff like how many skulls are featured in the flick, who the Ramones are and what fishing with just a hook and line is called (which is 'angling' by the way).

Out-takes is just the usual bloopers stuff, mainly featuring Shia LeBeouf.

There is a film clip for This World's Fair's song 'Don't Make Me Wait' which is the typical angst-y, soft-cock wuss rock you expect to be on a soundtrack of a film like this one.

The theatrical Trailer and a photo gallery are also present.
The Verdict
A nice neatly packaged film that won't satisfy all your horror needs, and probably won't become a permanent part of your collection, but it is a good way to waste 90 odd minutes when you don't feel like a Fulci gorefest or an Argento stalk-a thon. Mainly aimed at teens, but easily enjoyed by any age, Disturbia is a competent film, though the product placement is incredibly obvious. I'm off to buy an Xbox and some Redbull now! Worth a watch.
Movie Score
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