The good kid Kale (Shia LaBeouf) loves his ma and pops. After a terrible, grisly tragedy, the kid becomes an unstable and volatile jerk -- punching teachers and being a spoiled brat to his struggling mom. He gets 3 months of house arrest for the teacher assault, and after ma (Carrie Anne Moss) gets tough, taking away all of his expensive toys, Kale starts spying on his neighbors. He falls for the cute, new neighbor Ashley (Sarah Roemer) -- who looks like Ellen Pompeo and spends much of the movie showing off her assets. But not all of Kale's window entertainment is fun. He starts to think that his other neighbor, Mr. Turner (David Morse), might be a serial killer on the loose. Getting the help of Ashley and his best friend, Ronnie (Aaron Yoo), Kale decides to spy.
While it all sounds like it could make for a fun flick, Disturbia is only disturbing in how not scary it is, and how many simple changes could've been made to make the thriller palatable. Sure, the film has good parts -- I particularly loved his party payback that involved reorganizing his stereo and turning up the iPod as a nice, romantic song played. But beyond that, the film is a sloppy movie trying to be Rear Window, Cherish and Say Anything.
I can suspend a lot of disbelief for a film, but sometimes, you just shouldn't have to. When watching a film about voyeurs, you should at least get the basics -- a kid who knows how to spy. Time after time, Kale and his friends spy during the evening, all the lights on and not one curtain drawn. He learns nothing each and every time someone catches him spying -- he doesn't pull the curtains; he doesn't turn off the lights. Instead, he stands in his window, illuminated by a number of lamps, openly spying on people. And this is the same kid who later re-wires a camcorder. Right.
But really, if you're at all interested in this DVD, you don't care about the movie's slips, but about the film's extras. For you, dear Disturbia fans, there are a lot. This release is not a mountain of epic special features, but a mixture that will keep you busy for a good chunk of time. Some are good, some are kind of goofy and some actually answer questions you might have.
First up is the obligatory commentary. Unlike those often snooze-worthy, slow, one-person mumblings, the Disturbia DVD offers commentary by director D.J. Caruso, LaBeouf and Roemer. The trio keep things lively, although there isn't too much to really absorb other than a number of mentions about the various sets used, much talk about Roemer's body and stories (she tells a delightful tale about carnivorous mice) and LaBeouf's running jokes. At times, the commentary can make you a bit nuts, if you are bothered at all by the movie's inconsistencies. At one point, Caruso talks about metaphors, when really, he should be talking about why Kale doesn't know the basics behind spying and how not to be seen. You'll also get a few cell conversations, since Caruso won't turn his phone off, and learn about what the director has to pick up at the store.
After that, we've got a number of deleted scenes. While you can see why some were cut out, some really should have been spliced back in. There is one very brief scene, for example, that has Kale talking about accessing his mom's real estate site -- a scene which explains just how he was able to get blueprints for Mr. Turner's house. Unfortunately, there was never an explanation about why an internet news site that Ashley reads includes a hi-res autopsy photo. Suspending disbelief about how Willow gets Internet information on Buffy might be required, but it shouldn't be for Disturbia. The photo just wasn't necessary, or, it could've at least been on some autopsy photo site and not attached to a normal news piece.
There is also a brief featurette called The Making of Disturbia, a music video, a gallery, a whole bunch of previews and a few outtakes. The latter are mainly jokes between Kale and his dad while they fish, but there is also a truly lovely scene where LaBeouf tongues one of the fake corpses. And finally, there is a super-goofy extra called "Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up Quiz," which is just Pop-Up Video sort of subtitles that play along with the movie. Some balloons offer interesting information (like what song is playing when), but most are really a waste of time -- especially when they start putting up random facts.
If you were one of those people who actually found it scary, and not predictable or "as exciting as a peanut butter sandwich," you'll probably like the Disturbia DVD. The outtakes actually offer a few laughs, the commentary stays lively with three different, completely not-serious voices and there's much, much more to make your way through. Heck, if the effort that was put into the DVD was put into the film to wipe out the overly-stupid moves made by Kale, and to make a few more scary scenes, Disturbia might have actually been disturbing.