Confinement is a commonly used dramatic tool. Someone is trapped in a room or finds that – GASP! – THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!!! Anyway, confinment plays into a common fear of tight spaces we can’t escape from and so movies often keep their protagonists couped up to ratchet up the tension.
Disturbia is the latest movie to do just that. A young man (Shia Lebouf) is sentenced to house arrest after getting in trouble with the law. During his incarceration he grabs a pair of binoculars and starts exploring the world outside his bedroom window. That includes the comely young lady (Sarah Roemer) sun-bathing next to her pool, a young lady who eventually comes over and introduces herself. The two then witness someone across the street who seems to commit murder. Because he’s not a reliable source they two decide to investigate themselves. Wackiness ensues.
The poster Paramount created is pretty good and gets across the main plot of the movie pretty well. A young man is shown holding up a pair of binoculars with both a young woman’s face and something mysterious and sinister reflected in the lenses. The color palette, far from being boring, is bright – but in a very dark way that hints at the action taking place during night. It’s not the most exciting poster on the planet but it sells the movie pretty well.
I do find the lack of beautiful young people to be a bit surprising. I’ve come to expect that the flawless skin of a movie’s stars will almost always be used to sell a movie via the poster. To see a one-sheet that does not resort to that easy tactic is, well, I just don’t know what to do with that. On the one hand I feel it’s good they didn’t take the easy route. But on the other I feel like they passed up an obvious selling point.
If there’s a part of the plot the trailer doesn’t tip off I’m not sure what it could be. Oh, I’m sure there’s a couple twists that are left out for the actual movie audience to enjoy, but there can’t be much.
Almost every conceivable part of the movie’s plot is outlined here. From Kale’s being sentenced to house arrest, to his meeting his beautiful neighbor, to the witnessing of the murder and subsequent attempts to get the truth, everything is pretty much on display. It makes sense that they would want to make the plot of the movie so clear since there isn’t any huge celebrity name to hang the campaign on. Inlieu of that the marketers are willing to create what amounts to a truncated version of the movie in the hopes it will entice audiences to come see the full-length version.
As I watched the trailer something tickled the back of my brain and it didn’t fully click until about the third time through. Disturbia is more or less modern version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Instead of Jimmy Stewart being confined to his apartment with a broken leg, you have Kale being confined to his house with an ankle bracelet. Instead of witnessing Raymond Burr pack up after the mysterious disappearance of his wife, the protagonists witness David Cross and a splatter of blood. Instead of (?) go across the courtyard to investigate, you have Roemer doing the investigating and confrontation.
This isn’t a bad thing, but I defy you to watch the trailer, complete with binoculars, and not see the comparisons. Pete Vonder Haar is apparently on the same page as me since he sees the comparisons as undeniable.
The first thing I noticed when I pulled up the official website is a ever-changing graphic in the lower left that rotated between the Justin.TV promotion (see below), a link to the MySpace page for the movie’s soundtrack and a prompt to get updates and content via text message.
It’s then time to enter the full Flash-based site. This site hasn’t changed much since I first looked around at it. The primary navigation system is moving your cursor around Kale’s room. Click on various objects to get to related content. Clicking on the video camera, for instance, brings you to Videos. The binoculars bring you to a Photo Gallery.
Luckily all that content is also accessible via a Menu at the top left corner of the screen. This lets you quickly access some of the site’s more interesting features, such as “Disturbia Suburbia” and “Dark Secrets.” I covered these two items previously and my opinions are the same now so I won’t rehash them here.
Also previously covered on MMM was the contest Paramount/Dreamworks was running with Eyespot. Users could upload their own video and mash it together with the Disturbia trailer for a chance to win some swag.
As hinted at above, there was a promotional deal cut by Dreamamount and Justin of Justin.tv. The guy running it basically is wearing a camera on his head 24 hours a day in an effort to broadcast his entire life raw and uncensored on the internet. For this deal, Justin voluntarily confined himself to his bedroom for a period of time. If you’re not familiar with Justin.tv don’t worry about it. He won’t be news in about two weeks. It was a pretty good move to catch the attention of the online audience at the height of Justin’s popularity, though.
Not a bad campaign for a movie that is obviously trying to make a splash ahead of the summer blockbusters hitting theaters. Nice new media integration to boot. Not too much else to say. Nice and solid for a teen-oriented thriller.