Disturbia (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Call it “Rear Window version 2.0” if you like but there was something about “Disturbia” that really spoke to me. I’m usually not a fan of movies starring exclusively, teenagers, but Shia LaBeouf is certainly the real deal. I’ve yet to see “Transformers” and I realize he’s the one of the leads in next year’s “Indiana Jones” movie as well. The movie was a surprise success this Spring and with good reason, I found it gripping and entertaining at the same time. Director D.J. Caruso has assembled a relatively unknown cast aside from some veteran character actors (David Morse, Matt Craven and Carrie-Anne Moss) who fill their parts very nicely. Those familiar with Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” will be right at home (no pun intended) with the plot here. It’s not a true remake, more like an updated version for a new generation. What happens when being nosy goes a little too far and sometimes its best not to get involved when spying on your neighbors.

LaBeouf plays Kale, who has seen his father die in a tragic car accident that he blames himself for. A year passes and Kale’s failing school. When confronted by a teacher, Kale decks him and in turn is sentenced to three months house arrest (he’s six months shy of his eighteenth birthday, else he’d be in jail for assault). Kale has a radius around his house that he cannot exceed for more than ten seconds, lest the police come and arrest him. He finds this out very quickly when some neighbor kids get the best of him. As fate would have it, a beautiful young girl (Sarah Roemer) moves in next door and with nothing but time on his hands, Kale takes to watching her swim and work out in h! er room . He’s also figured out the some of the other neighbors are having affairs, other neighbor kids are watching adult movies and he believes that his next door neighbor might just be a serial killer.

Naturally I don’t want to give too much more away as that’s most of the fun, but I did find “Disturbia” to be well worth the price of admission. The film has just the right mix of action, humor and excitement that blend for a very believable and emotional ride. Naturally anything copied from “the master” Alfred Hitchcock, has most of the right elements already but this one hits the nail on the head. Of course, fans of this movie will no doubt like the original “Rear Window” as well (if not better) but for the younger audience, this one is a passable substitute. In the age of information, cell phones, video cameras and just about everything else – can a little harmless spying on your neighbors do some damage? Evidently, it can.

Video: How does it look?

“Disturbia” is shown in a beautiful 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer that really brings the picture to life. Any major studio movie that’s new to DVD (Blu-ray or HD DVD) will almost always look good. It’s just a fact. A majority of the movie takes place in Kale’s house with scenes here and there in neighbor’s yards. The colors are bright and vibrant and really show off how amazing a picture can look. There’s no edge enhancement, of course, which sets it apart from the standard DVD counterpart. I saw no evidence of artifacting and the only deterrent was that a few of the scenes seemed a tad soft. Aside from that, there’s no denying that “Disturbia” looks great.

Audio: How does it sound?

There are a few options on this Blu-ray disc and the one I went with was the DTS 6.1 audio. There was also a Dolby Digital 5.1 track but I don’t get a lot of titles with DTS so hence my decision. The soundtrack is good, not amazing, but good. Surround effects aren’t too prevalent but they do make their presence known at some key moments during the movie. Dialogue, as expected, is very warm and natural coming out of the center channel. The rest of the action takes place in the front stage. Sonics seemed normal and though the soundtrack isn’t as robust as I thought it would be, I certainly have no complaints here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

As a box office champ from earlier this year, Paramount has done this disc right. Right off the bat we get a commentary track from director D.J. Caruso, Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer who give us the low down on the movie and the shoot in general. It’s not a bad track, actually and considering Roemer and LaBeouf haven’t done many (if any) it makes for an interesting listen. Next up we find several other features that are presented in High Definition. We start off with some deleted scenes and then onto the obligatory “The Making of Disturbia” which has interviews with the cast and crew, talk of the shoot, etc. The “Serial Pursuit” trivia pop up quiz is rather neat, but kind of loses its appeal after a while. There are some bloopers presented in HD as well as a music video “Don’t Make me Wait” by The World Fair. Lastly we have a photo gallery and the original theatrical trailer also in HD. “Disturbia” delivers the goods and has a great video/audio transfer to boot. Fans will eat this up and it’s worth a purchase for sure.

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