Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Title: Disturbia (2007)
Dir: DJ Caruso
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars

I had my doubts about Disturbia, since it seemed like just a teen-marketed remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. While that may true, the film is suprisingly better than I expected.

Kale (Shia LaBeouf) is a troubled teen who gets placed under house arrest after punching his teacher. Bored inside his house, he turns to spying on neighbors to pass the time. After witnessing what he thinks is a murder, Kale and his two friends start investigating their neighbor, Mr. Turner (David Morse). But they stick their noses in too far and Kale's once-harmless voyeurism turns into a struggle to stay alive.

Director DJ Caruso (The Salton Sea) delivers some effective suspense. The scares are pretty tame because of the film's target audience, but for what it is, they work. David Morse is especially creepy and keeps the viewer wondering, "Is he or isn't he?" LaBeouf is also an entertaining protagonist, with the right mix of humor and angst.

Disturbia tiptoes around intriguing issues like privacy, obsession, and paranoia, but doesn't bother to really dive into these topics. This is a maintstream thriller, afterall. But it does excel at building tension where most mainstream thrillers fail. The script effectively adapts Rear Window's ideas to a modern environment without insulting the original. It's not Hitchcock, but it'll do.