The other night I saw Disturbia for the first time. When it first came out I was reluctant to see it. Being an Alfred Hitchcock fan and a Jimmy Stewart fan I had always held the strong opinion that Rear Window is one of that elite class of movies of which it should never be remade or ripped off. When I first saw the trailer for Disturbia I was furious and expected some kind of action—exile from the film industry, life in prison, castration… something.
As time passed and I heard more about the movie my feelings about the act of heresy became less intense. I appreciated that it was not a complete remake (just the stealing of an original idea) and that it takes a different approach using more scare and horror than suspense (suspense takes more skill). It became less of a sin; maybe ten years would be sufficient.
Then I watched it. It was a decent movie, and it was exciting and entertaining to watch. I enjoyed watching it and felt that was the extent of it. Whatever was clever or original about it is lost with the knowledge of Rear Window. It was a good movie but I was hoping it would be better. They were, after all, standing on the shoulders of Hitchcock.
A few points on Rear Window:
People-watching is captivating and Hitchcock used this to a much greater extent than Disturbia. Disturbia did not allow for as much people watching focusing on the characters within the house doing the watching rather then letting us watch for ourselves.
One of the great things about Rear Window is the situation combined with Stewart’s terrific acting. You spend the movie only seeing from his perspective. You see what he sees and then you see the reaction written in his face. That was one of the disappointments about Disturbia, the main character ended up telling you what was going on.
I highly suggest watching Rear Window its a masterpiece of film making. If you have not seen either movie be sure to watch Rear Window first so when you see Disturbia you think “this is just like Rear Window” rather than the other way around.