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April 2007


By Wilson Morales


Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: D. J Caruso
Producers: Jackie Marcus, Joe Medjuck, Tom Pollock
Screenwriters: Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth
Cinematographer: Rogier Stoffers
Composer: Geoff Zanelli
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Aaron Yoo, Sarah Roemer, Jose Pablo Cantillo
Running Time: 1hr 45min



Whoever made the statement that there are only but a few scripts in Hollywood and that they get recycled over and over in different ways ought to be a millionaire since many films are retreads of something that’s been done before; but to do it for a new audience is always a welcome relief if done properly. Except for the over-the-top climax, “Disturbia”, is certainly does Hitchcock’s Rear Window proud. Filled with romance, intense, and intrigue, director Caruso has updated a clichéd story into a modern pleasing thriller. He has brought back the chilling intensity to voyeurism.

In re-inventing the “Rear Window” plot, Kale and his father are out by the lake bonding as he learns how to fish for the first time. On their return home, Kale’s life is shattered when they collide with another vehicle and daddy dearest dies leaving Kale despondent and disruptive in class and physically aggressive with his teacher, which lands him in house arrest for the summer. When his mom (Moss) cuts off his cable and itunes access, Kale resorts to watching his neighbors from his window with his binoculars. He’s especially excited when his new neighbor Ashley (Roemer) undressed with the binds opens and takes dips in the pool in her bikini. He’s also curious when the dates that Mr. Turner, his other neighbor, has follows the patterns of recent kidnappings. Mr. Turner’s car matches the description of the car from the witness report. With a police ankle bracelet that prevents him from leaving the house and a few yards outside, Kale enlist the help of his friend Ronnie to gather info on Turner. With Ashley helping him as well, Kale has romance and intrigue on his mind until he suspects foul play coming for Turner’s house. When he violates his house arrest rules and calls the attention of the police and Office Gutierrez (Cantillo), Kale’s statements look like cry-wolf when Turner has an explanation for his strange behavior.Yet, Kale won’t let go of this haunting feeling he has about his neighbor.

If you have seen “Rear Window”, you can guess where the film is going, although it’s not an exact remake. It’s modernized for a teenage crowd and LaBeouf is very credible as the intriguing juvenile. From the moment his father died, Shia’s performance has a sense of realism. Give that credit to the writers although the rest of the actors from Moss, Morse, to Yoo are pretty much one note characters. Yoo provides the comic relief in the film. Morse does nothing to detract from us thinking he’s less than disturbing. All of the pieces are laid out and it’s just of matter of letting it unfold. Caruso does a remarkable job at building scary and suspense moments although we see it coming. With today’s generation consumed with technology, Caruso cleverly makes use of the cell phones, camcorder, and other electrical outlets to add to the glossy thriller. Although the ending becomes more of the same slasher endings we’ve seen before, it’s doesn’t take away from the refined storyline set up.