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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » September 26, 2007
Film review
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September 26, 2007   
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The makers of this movie admit that to a large extent, Disturbia is a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, the classic thriller from 1954. The first thing that springs to mind is that every generation has the Hitchcock it deserves. Directed by D.J. Caruso (The Salton Sea), Disturbia opens with a promise of a movie about the psychological drama of a young man who undeservedly blames himself for the death of his father in a car accident. Still, a few minutes later the movie turns into a silly comedy about a teenager grounded at home. It continues in this vein for a while and then it changes into a thriller aspiring to imitate the aforementioned Hitchcock movie. Finally, it becomes an action horror movie which, in turn, is a shameless carbon copy of the Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs from Jonathan Demme. Disturbia does not do well in any of the genres.

Admittedly, 21-year-old Shia LaBoeuf (Transformers, Constantine), touted as an up-and-coming Hollywood star, is instantly likable as Kale, the typical American boy next door. Viewers feel compassion for him as after the trauma of his father's death, Kale punches his unpleasant Spanish teacher and as a consequence gets sentenced to house arrest for the entire summer vacations. With an electronic band around his ankle, he cannot move more than 30 feet from a transmitter in the living room.

At first, all Kale does is stare at the TV screen and play video games, but when his mother (Carrie-Ann Moss-The Matrix series, Chocolat) picks up a pair of scissors and cuts the TV power cord in two, a bored Kale starts spying on his neighbors through binoculars. He soon learns everything about them and knows which neighbor is having an affair with his family's housekeeper, which kids watch porn in their bedroom and why the pretty girl next door spends hours on the roof of her house. The trouble begins when Kale discovers that Mr. Turner (David Morse-The Rock, Proof of Life, The Green Mile), a loner who has recently moved to the quiet suburb, could in fact be a wanted serial killer. Kale teams up with Ashley (Sarah Roemer-The Grudge 2), the girl he has been watching, and a Korean pal, and the three start a private investigation.

The three hormone-driven teenagers are very amusing as they spy on the psychopath, but their opponent is not really demanding. The elusive killer is in the habit of bringing his victims-to-be home and drinking wine with them in his brightly illuminated living room with curtains wide apart. That is, if he has any at all, as most of Kale's neighbors do not. He then chases the screaming women around the house before he finally kills and hides them somewhere inside. In the maze of his basement, full of secret passages, Mr. Turner has an autopsy room that a small town hospital would envy, and a huge hole filled with water and the bodies of his previous guests. The screen writer is not kind enough to explain how this crime factory came about in the first place and why nobody noticed that young women keep disappearing from the neighborhood. Instead, the viewer is treated to painful cliches (there is only so many times you can watch the villain appear behind the refrigerator door that the main character is closing) and in the finale, a bloodbath in which the son and mother join forces to defeat the deviant with sharp items found in any household. Now the viewer can finally breathe a sigh of relief and run for the nearest exit from the theater.
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