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After his fathers accidental death, Kale (Shia LaBeouf) remains withdrawn and troubled. When he lashes out at a well-intentioned but insensitive teacher, he finds himself under a court-ordered house arrest. His mother continues to cope, working extra shifts to support herself and her son, as she tries in vain to understand the changes in his personality. The walls of his house begin to close in on Kale as he takes chances to extend the boundaries both physical and emotional of his confinement. His interests turn outside the windows of his suburban home toward those of his neighbors, including a mutual attraction to the new girl next door (Sarah Roemer). Together, they begin to suspect that another neighbor is a serial killer. Are their suspicions merely the product of Kales cabin fever and vivid imagination? Or have they unwittingly stumbled across a crime that could cost them their lives?
Alfred Hitchcock fans may experience déjà vu upon exposure to this voyeuristic thriller. That's because director DJ Caruso (The Salton Sea) and co-writer Carl Ellsworth (Red Eye) use Rear Window as a jumping-off point before cherry-picking from more recent scare fare, like The Blair Witch Project. In the prologue, 17-year-old Kale (Shia LaBeouf, Holes) loses his beloved father to a car crash. A year passes, and he's still on edge. When a teacher makes a careless remark about his dad, Kale punches him out, and is sentenced to house arrest. After his mom (Carrie-Anne Moss, Memento) takes away his Xbox and iTunes privileges, the suburban slacker spies on his neighbors to pass the time. In the process, he develops a crush on Ashley (Sarah Roemer, The Grudge 2), the hot girl next door, and becomes convinced that another, the soft-spoken Mr. Turner (David Morse, The Green Mile), is a serial killer. With the help of the flirtatious Ashley, practical joke-playing pal Ronnie (Aaron Yoo), and an array of high-tech gadgets, like cell-phone cameras and digital camcorders, Kale sets out to solve a major case without leaving his yard (a feat that would prove more challenging for a less affluent sleuth). In the end, it's pretty familiar stuff, but there are plenty of scares once Turner realizes he's being watched, and rising star LaBeouf, who next appears in Michael Bay's Transformers, makes for an engaging leading man--despite his characters propensity for slugging Spanish instructors. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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