Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
Having clocked his high school Spanish teacher in the face, Kale Brecht (Shia LaBeouf) is sentenced to three months’ house arrest. For a while Kale has fun peeping at neighbors through his binoculars, until he sees what he thinks is someone storing a fresh corpse in a garage. Is his paranoia getting the better of him, or does Kale have a serial killer living across the street?
Is it good movie?
For those who have seen the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie that serves as its template, DISTURBIA delivers some minor scares in a completely predictable fashion. It’s not the first teenybopper REAR WINDOW rip-off (homage?), and it certainly won’t be the last. I was just hoping for a little more inspiration from director D.J. Caruso’s take on the paranoid voyeurism formula. DISTURBIA comes off as a bit routine, unless of course you are 14 years old and have never seen a movie like it before.
Shia “hottest commodity in Hollywood” LaBeouf is one of the film’s main assets. His portrayal of Kale as a down-to-earth teenager at least assures that there is an endearing and relatable protagonist. Sarah Roemer plays Ashley, the hot girl who just moved in next door, and for a while the movie is too preoccupied with a by-the-numbers teen romance. After a while, Kale, Ashley and token Asian best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) have set up a full-blown stakeout in Kale’s bedroom, and see neighbor Robert Turner (David Morse) dragging a bloody heap of something or other into his garage. Then, we’re in typical “Officer! That man is a serial killer!”/ “Shut-up, you ignorant kid” spin cycle until the slasher movie climax, where DISTURBIA packs its only real thrills.
And yes, David Morse plays the film’s creepy psycho killer... how bored am I? Morse is a capable and underrated actor, but by now he can play a role like this in his sleep. As a villain, Robert Turner is threatening enough, but ultimately this is just another lunatic who kills people for no apparent reason. Did the movie world really need another?
Caruso did a lot of TV work before making his feature debut directing the darkly compelling THE SALTON SEA, and has since been responsible for nice-looking mediocrities like TWO FOR THE MONEY. There are some hard-hitting moments in DISTURBIA (an intense car crash recalls another very memorable one that opened Caruso’s TAKING LIVES), but the material is disappointingly pedestrian. While it is handsomely shot and features an appealing lead performance, I managed to predict what was going to happen in DISTURBIA at virtually every turn. Somebody has to work a little harder next time to fool me.
Video / Audio
Video 1:85:1 Widescreen
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Commentary by director D.J. Caruso, Shia LeBeouf and Sarah Roemer Good commentary track here, everyone is obviously having a blast and Caruso gets in some great anecdotes. LeBeouf is lively as ever, and gets plenty of laughs.
Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up Quiz Watch the movie with cute factoids... or not. I was never a fan of these.
The Making of Disturbia Solid making-of runs just over 14 minutes and does feature some good on-set footage and interviews.
Deleted Scenes A few scrapped scenes between LaBeouf and Carrie Anne-Moss, playing his mother. Nothing great.
Outtakes Brief but worth it... Shia LaBeouf and Matt Craven apparently had some real trouble fishing.
There’s also a Music Video for “Don’t Make me Wait” by This World Fair, a Photo Gallery, the film's Theatrical Trailer and a few Previews that you should really just avoid completely.
If you are expecting REAR WINDOW for 13-year olds, you won't be disappointed with DISTURBIA. If you haven't seen REAR WINDOW, that's probably a good thing in this case. Personally, I was fairly underwhelmed.