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DISTURBIA from 2007 began promisingly, but deteriorated toward its end. The idea of updating REAR WINDOW from 1954 to the 21st Century is sound (instead of Jimmy Stewart confined to a small apartment with a broken leg, we have teenaged Shia LeBoeuf electronically confined to his house and yard for the summer after slugging a teacher who goaded him). The principal actors are all fine, especially LeBoeuf in the troubled lead role, Sarah Roemer as his would-be new girlfriend, and David Morse as the suspiciously behaving neighbor who "only wants privacy." Unfortunately, the movie turns from interesting psychological interplay to something like a routine stalker movie in its last quarter, complete with a hostage and chasing through the basement. DISTURBIA is entertaining -- but hardly surprising. People who have seen neither movie would probably be much better off with REAR WINDOW.
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on November 30, 2014
Americans HATE teenagers lately. There's a great This American Life where John Hodgman asks a woman if, granted with a superpower, she would have any desire for a teenage sidekick. I paraphrase here just a little bit. "Yeah, sure," says the woman, "Someone with powers that complement mine, that would be good."
"No," says Hodgman, "The sidekick wouldn't have any powers."
"Oh," says the woman, with an air of repulsion. "You mean it would just be a...teenager...hanging out with me? No. No."
There's one star who has done an extremely good job at getting around this antipathy, Shia LaBeouf, and for good reason: he can really act. He's not the only one, but he has really excellent chops and they're on display here.
And Denzel Washington may be the most famous alumnus of that incredible show, St Elsewhere, but my favorite is David Morse, for performances like the one he gives here.
And what red-blooded, heterosensitive male can object to the brilliant Sarah Roemer prancing around in a skimpy string bikini. Not me!!!
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on October 14, 2014
This movie was pretty good! The whole family watched it, but we might have traumatized our 13 year old. It has a couple jump in your seats moments but it is not a horror movie. Just a good thriller.
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on October 29, 2016
My husband and I watched this one night and really enjoyed it! Most thrillers seem to have the same plot, but this one was different and kept us on the edge of our seats! This movie came out a while ago, but is still a great watch for any scary movie junkies!
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on June 29, 2014
While the filmmakers don't call this a remake of "Rear Window" (there was actually a lawsuit over this issue), this movie does provide a nice twist on this classic tale. Kale Brecht, played by Shia LaBeouf, is placed on house arrest after he punches his teacher, the man having made a snide remark about his recently deceased father. While confined to his house, Kale takes to spying on his neighbors and comes to believe that the man living next door, played by David Morse, is a serial killer. This film is full of witty dialogue, especially from the teenaged actors, and most of it is funny. You might think it's just another slasher film, and I'll admit that the ending sort of goes down that road, but it overall strives to be something more. Overall, it succeeds. The kids are likable...and more importantly, relatable. David Morse is wonderfully creepy. The plot never slacks off, though it does lag very slightly at times...personally I'd rather have that than if there was constant danger and suspense from beginning to end. And it's not just some film about teenagers. I liked it. You might too. Go ahead and give it a watch. Enjoy.
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on September 18, 2007
DISTURBIA is a hip tale about a restless middle-class teen (SHIA LaBEOUF--what a name!!) under house arrest after punching his Spanish teacher and forced to wear a leg bracelet that sets off an alarm if he goes outside his restricted bounds. When his mother deprives him of entertainment as further punishment, he starts spying on some interesting neighbors, a la James Stewart in REAR WINDOW, with plenty of modern tools, like camcorders, at his disposal. It's a gimmicky tale but it works.

It starts with a brutal road accident after a fishing trip with his dad that ends with a startling scene before the title credit. But it takes awhile for the story to get into high gear and start delivering the chills one is waiting for in a tale of this kind.

SARAH ROEMER is the pretty girl next door who is soon joining Shia in his spying activities; AARON YOO supplies plenty of comic relief as Shia's Oriental friend; CARRIE-ANNE MOSS is understandably under a strain as Shia's stressed out mother; and David MORSE is sufficiently creepy as the neighbor suspected of harboring some dark secrets.

Handsomely photographed, it's a letdown only when the shaky camera movement is used for certain crucial scenes such as the finale in a dark cellar. It seems that every filmmaker today likes to use that technique which should have been restricted to the likes of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

The last twenty-five minutes are well staged and exciting, building up to the suspenseful climax. Shia deserves full praise for practically carrying the film with an authentic portrait of an energetic teen with too much time on his hands.

It's a satisfying thrill ride but not something to go out of your way to see.

On the debit side: The most disturbing thing about the DVD commentary by the director, Shia and Sarah, is that it's not exactly illuminating. Shia has them both counting how many times he says "S**t" within the space of a scene (and throughout the commentary too) which immediately cracks them up. It goes downhill from that point on. They chuckle like kids over every punch line or comic moment with little insight into the storyline. Sophomoric discussion, to say the least.
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on June 22, 2014
I really liked this movie! Shia LeBeouf plays a boy who lost his father in a car wreck. After that he doesn't care about anything and gets into trouble for punching out his Spanish teacher. He is stuck at home for weeks wearing a security bracelet that will send out an alarm if he leaves the house. During that time his mom takes away the video games and tells him to clean the house. When he's done with all that, he spends his time looking out the window and notices his next door neighbor doing suspicious things. What happens next ? Watch it and find out!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 9, 2007
One year after the death of his father, Kale Brecht (Shia LaBoeuf) is placed under a 3 month house arrest after striking his school teacher. Languishing at home, Kale begins to go stir crazy. Falling prey to the "natural side effects of chronic boredom," he constructs an edifice of Twinkies, converts his room into a kingdom of trash, and resorts to the always fun yet seedy diversion of spying on his neighbors. This latter activity reaches its most rewarding pinnacle when rebellious superbabe Ashley (Sarah Roemer) moves in next door. Before long, however, things take a turn for the sinister as Kale begins to suspect that his other neighbor, the quiet Mr. Turner (David Morse), just might be a kidnapper and a serial killer.

Shia LaBeouf, star of this picture, is on some kind of a hot streak and is probably the busiest young actor around these days. I thought he was good in THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED and provided the humanizing element in TRANSFORMERS. But, in between those two films, he also starred in DISTURBIA, a well-made teenage Peeping Tom thriller which gradually unfolds its mystery even as it heightens the tension.

Not to say that this film belongs in the same rarified air inhabited by classic Hitchcock films, but DISTURBIA does pilfer from the master in two senses. One, of course, is the premise it borrows directly from REAR WINDOW. The other is the construction of the film's narrative. What did Hitchcock say? "There is no terror in a bang; only in the anticipation of it." SUBURBIA is an exercise in suspense building. Unlike some of the more generic and slapdash thrillers which instantly show their explicit and gory hands, this one takes its time to get to the graphic blood-curling. It lulls you with its pace and rhythm; it sets you up and makes you susceptible to the whims of your imagination.

There's an investment in Kale's character. Time is granted for the audience to get to know him and sympathize with his loss, frustration, and pain and with his sense of entrapment and displacement. In fact, the plot takes a side trip into John Hughes country when next door dream Ashley is introduced. Enter teen angst and teen hormones and teen dilemmas. But then Ashley also provides the impetus for Kale to seriously poke his nose into the goings-on surrounding the mysterious Mr. Turner.

When things start to happen, they're initially insignificant and unremarkable. There is momentary news on the telly of a woman's kidnapping. Then a dented Mustang rolls up coinciding with the vehicle description on the news. A neighbor's late night date takes a turn for the worse. Something icky is dragged down the stairs. And, gradually, niggling suspicions begin to seep into Kale's mind.

The cast, it's a fine one. David Morse is dang good at playing villains and brilliant at exuding bad vibes. Whenever I watch him in these kind of roles, I'm unsure of him. I never quite know what he's up to. There are two scenes with Morse which stand out for me: one in Kale's house wherein Mr. Turner meets Kale face to face for the first time, another in which Mr. Turner creepily terrorizes Ashley in her car. Both scenes pulsate with a quiet, terrible menace as projected by Morse. Lovely Carrie-Anne Moss plays Kale's mother and I could wish that she were on the screen more, but, in retrospect, the film's not really about her. But, still. Sarah Roemer, who should probably start doing other stuff than horror/thriller flicks, has got that sexy Jessica Biel thing going on, in looks and in screen persona. There's a bit of wildness in her Ashley which quickly devastates Kale and every other male in the vicinity.

The film's success depends hugely on Shia LaBoeuf, and I think he pulls it off. The things that happen, the things that his character ends up doing - LaBoeuf is such a natural actor that you buy into what Kale is thinking and feeling so that when he ends up pulling those crazy stunts, well, you're with him. Shia effortlessly carries the film.

The special features are plentiful but nondescript: a film commentary by the director and cast members LaBeouf and Roemer; 4 deleted scenes totalling 4 and a half minutes (three of which focus on Carrie-Anne Moss's character); the "Making Of" featurette (15 minutes long, it also mentions how Morse deliberately didn't speak to Shia for the first few months of shooting - ahh, method acting); a Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up Quiz; Gag reel (kind of lame, especially the fishing outtakes); the music video: "Don't Make Me Wait" by This World Fair; a photo gallery; and the theatrical trailer.

It's been a while since I've experienced a thoughtful, well-executed teen thriller. I might have to go all the way back to SCREAM. DISTURBIA is head and shoulders above the shabby likes of the recent WHEN A STRANGER CALLS and BLACK CHRISTMAS remakes. DISTURBIA, with its measured tempo, sneaks up on you. You get suckered into watching these kids at play with their seemingly harmless adventure as they get spooked a little along the way, but with, really, nothing concretely nefarious surfacing. Morse's character provides occasionally chilling moments, but still you're not quite sure if he's the killer or a red herring. That is, until the last 20 minutes or so, after which all hell breaks loose. DISTURBIA hits you up with a little romance, a bit of humor, a security ankle bracelet as a key plot device, several nerve-wracking moments, a game of cat and mouse, and a touch of serial killing. And I did enjoy how Kale finally got even with his bratty tormentors.
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VINE VOICEon April 15, 2007
Just seeing the trailer for DISTURBIA, you get the idea that this is REAR WINDOW updated for the modern teen audience. And that is pretty much what it is. But as a 40 year old male, I have to say that on its own, unoriginal terms, DISTURBIA works pretty well.

First of all, Shia LeBeouf is a very engaging screen actor. This 20 year old, who was so good in HOLES and has done very nice roles in other films such as CONSTANTINE and THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED is starting to really come into his own. He is offbeat looking enough that he doesn't come across as just another generic cast-off from "One Tree Hill." He doesn't play it cool all the time...he's not afraid to look scared when the situation warrants.

The film also benefits greatly from the malevolent force that is David Morse in "psycho" mode. Ever since this normally gentle, mild-mannered actor (ST. ELSEWHERE's "Boomer") played a nut-case stone-cold killer in THE ROCK, he gets consistently cast as "crazy." And he does it very, very well. He's like a poor man's suburban Hannibal Lecter in DISTURBIA. He gets under the skin of those who are chasing him...psyching them out as he sounds SO CREDIBLE and REASONABLE...yet you know he's a serial killer!!

The movie is pleasant to watch (although the opening few scenes with LeBeouf and his screen father are almost too harsh). Nice steady suspense, liberally sprinkled with mildly raunchy humor. But it's all building to a pretty darn exciting final 20 minutes. When this film kicks into high gear...it doesn't mess around. The audience I saw it with (mostly teens) screamed and carried on quite enthusiastically. My heart skipped a beat or two.

This is no Shakespearean epic, nor does it approach the subtlety of Hitchcock. But it is good for delivering some jolts and far more honest earned suspense than most movies these days. While it won't win any Oscars, it's pretty darn fun. 3.5 stars.

(One note of unhappiness: what's happened to Carrie-Anne Moss' career??!?? She plays the mom, and her part is so underwritten, so thankless...it's just sad.)
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on June 10, 2016
shia labeouf's best film to date!!!! since it was first released on dvd, to blurry i had to upgrade, the movie speaks for itself, watch the trailer, its one of the best thrillers ever!
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