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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look: 5%
Pretty Bad35%
Total Crap: 15%

6 reviews, 24 user ratings

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by Jason Whyte

"The scariest movie of the April 13th weekend!"
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SXSW FESTIVAL. I lost my ‘Alamo Drafthouse Virginity’ to “Disturbia”. Hey, that’s a better way to open the review than to say that this new scare-free picture is a ripoff of “Rear Window,” right?

So many reviews have mentioned the fact that director DJ Caruso (“The Salton Sea”, “Two For The Money) has created a new film that nods to the Hitchcockian masterpiece, yet I found it more of something that takes the premise and makes a dull and forgettable “new” movie out of it. I will only remember this movie because I had my first “Up ‘n Smoke’d Bacon Pizza” at the legendary, Austin, Texas-based restaurant cinema.

But anyways, let’s get back to this movie. The opening to “Disturbia” is startlingly similar to the recent film “The Lookout”, where a car crash seriously impacts the life of a character. This character in particular is young Kale (Shia LeBoeuf), whose father dies after a fishing trip. This has left Kale sad and alone, you see, and because of this he has no problems taking a swing at one of his school teachers for making a comment about the car crash.

After the incident, Kale is put under house arrest, complete with a small device strapped to his foot that doesn’t allow him to go within 100 yards of his front door. His buddy Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) drops off often to see what Kale is up to while stuck in the house.

And this is some house; it is cleverly designed just enough to be able to get a clear view of every house around him, and especially of the ridiculously cute girl next door. This girl turns out to be named Ashley (Sarah Roemer), who becomes friends with Kale and Ronnie and suddenly the art of spying becomes a fun pastime where they can see the nicks and quirks of everyone around them. (While “Rear Window” earned its creepiness by keeping the camera within the corner of Jimmy Stewart’s apartment, “Disturbia” movies all over the enormous house, and then some.)

With all of the peeping that Kale is up to, he comes across another neighbour (David Morse) who is doing some creepy and unstable things in his house. The kids believe that hey may be a killer of some sort, although Kale isn’t able to do much about it besides send his friends out to spy on him, or to tell the disbelieving police.

The film is directed by D.J. Caruso (Who has done good films like“The Salton Sea” and “Two For The Money” yet is also responsible for the lousy “Taking Lives”), a filmmaker who no doubt has serious talent. The visuals are there, he knows how to establish mood and can even get some good performances out of his actors. I say this because “Disturbia” had me going for the first hour or so, until the entire thing dissolves into a noisy and predictable thriller that sours everything that came before it.

Out of all of the performances, Shia Leboeuf fares the best here. He has done solid work in the past and comes across as a likeable everyman here. Sarah Roemer looks great and can no doubt model a wet shirt, yet still has to work on things like line delivery and reacting to things around her just a hair bit better. David Morse, always effective in other work, comes across a bit stiff and awkward (he’s not known well enough to “phone it in”, but he seems to do that here anyway). Carrie Anne-Moss gets a thankless role as Kale’s mother, but has so little screen time until the very end.

Obviously, going in I did not want to hate “Disturbia” but the film decelerates at such an intense pace that you forget it as quickly as you walk out of the cinema. This watered down, PG-13 picture might do well with the kids who want nothing better than to be spooked on a Friday night, but I really didn’t see anything for them to scream at. For me, it was simple sadness of seeing a lousy movie as my first Alamo Drafthouse experience, with that delicious bacon pizza and large coke being the only major impression of the show.

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originally posted: 04/14/07 04:03:28
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/05/18 Anne not too bad 2 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell fun tense rear window retread 4 stars
3/25/09 brian First hour is okay, then it turns into a slasher cliche fest with un-scary horror. 3 stars
3/08/09 SandySue Kept my attention all the way through. 3 stars
9/26/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Cast!! 5 stars
6/06/08 TreeTiger Crap, crap, crap..! 1 stars
1/09/08 Who's your daddy? Fun movie - all you slammers relax abit 4 stars
11/16/07 R.W.Welch Rear Window light. Has teen appeal but is too contrived. 3 stars
10/28/07 Joe Smaltz draged on for the first hour and a half, but picked up during the last few minutes. 3 stars
9/25/07 Beau took to long for suspense and scary scenes to appear! herendous dialogue, a so so movie 3 stars
9/23/07 your mom THIS FILM IS AWSOME!!! GO SEE IT! 5 stars
9/19/07 Roman You guys are dumb, Shia's prformance in Disturbia brought him up to the top, 5 stars
9/17/07 Indrid Cold The fact that Carrie-Anne Moss is 40 years old is by far the scariest aspect of this movie. 3 stars
9/11/07 Jack ABSOLUTE SHOCKER, POOR POOR FILM, DO NOT GO AND SEE THIS! Shia Lebouef worst actor... EVER 1 stars
9/07/07 claudzx3 brilliant movie but very VERY scary 4 coz i saw it and i am like 12 lol 5 stars
9/04/07 faithly ridriguez i love it !!! the suspense was killin me... 5 stars
8/22/07 Double M Predictable - irrational move - predictable! still, fun parts. kids my age (20) may like it 3 stars
8/13/07 Wee Todd Didd Nothing special, didn't totally suck, but just so so 2 stars
7/08/07 Tom Servo You hear's the sound of Hitchcock rolling in his grave-verdict= F 1 stars
5/17/07 Ole Man Bourbon Not much to it 3 stars
5/11/07 Tiffany Great Film 5 stars
4/30/07 Caiphn Boring, ridiculous dialogue, I walked out after 45 minutes. Avoid this. 2 stars
4/23/07 Courtney I heart this movie. At first I thought it was going to be retard. Go see it. 4 stars
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  13-Apr-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Aug-2007



Directed by
  D.J. Caruso

Written by
  Christopher Landon
  Carl Ellsworth

  Shia LaBeouf
  David Morse
  Sarah Roemer
  Carrie-Anne Moss

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