DISTURBIA: QUALITY SUSPENSE FLICK
3 months house arrest. The cute new girl next door. Possible serial killer neighbor. Boredom. All are elements of the movie Disturbia that add up to an enjoyable, suspenseful teen flick. These and the likeability of Shia LaBeouf and scariness of David Morse as the neighbor make it a must see.
Kale (Shia LaBeouf) has been placed on house arrest for hitting one of his teachers. He recently lost his dad in a car accident and is taking it out on the world. He tries to occupy his time by amusing himself. This fails when his mom (Carrie-Ann Moss) cancels his Xbox Live and Itunes. He can’t go further than 100 yards of his house. So he turns to spying on his neighbors. There is cute girl Ashley (Sarah Roemer), who turns him into a Peeping Tom. There is the man across the street who is cheating on his wife when she goes to play tennis. And there is Mr. Turner (David Morse) who mows his lawn twice a day. He becomes suspicious in Kale’s eyes when a woman goes missing and all things point to him. Is Kale becoming paranoid or is he onto something?
Story is an updated version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Teen emotions and angst are thrown in. Kale and his buddy Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) have all the gadgets that you could think of. Video cameras, Xbox, Ipod, PSP games, etc. all remind you that teens have no reason to be bored in this day and age. Shia LaBeouf as Kale is the Jimmy Stewart character. Sarah Roemer as Ashley is the Grace Kelly character. They have good chemistry that comes across well. LaBeouf is becoming more and more prevalent in Hollywood, with good reason. He does well with the transition of good kid to sullen teenager after the death of his father. David Morse (16 Blocks) is sinister or just plain creepy as the suspect neighbor. His appearance (earring, long hair) just makes him more untrustworthy. Darkness and eerie music build the usual tension that you have come to expect for this type of film. You see blood being splattered in Mr. Turner’s house. The big bag he drags down the stairs-is it what you think it is? These visuals are nothing new but they still prove to work. It shouldn’t be an out of the ordinary flick. But it still is a fun, on the edge of your seat, worth the price of admission movie.
One distraction in the film that could have been left out was the romance between Kale and Ashley. The buildup to their first kiss is fun but starts to take away from the storyline after a while.
D.J. Caruso (Two for the Money) hits his stride with this film. It is entertaining and satisfying that goes the distance. This isn’t the original Rear Window but a good time is had. Shia LaBeouf is a bona fide movie star on his way up.