‘Disturbia’: A bright spot in a haze of bad films

Thu, 04/19/2007 - 3:38pm
By: Emily Baldwin

Every spring, after awards season has ended and before the boom of summer flicks begin their debut, there comes a time when movie releases consist primarily of second rate films (often horror or suspense based) with a handful of noteworthy pictures thrown into the mix. The last several weeks have seen little to boast about at the box office, but thankfully we should be heading into a bright summer season soon enough.

Although I wouldn’t neccessarily name “Disturbia” on any list of favorites, the film which was the number one movie at box offices across the nation this weekend, did make for a rather entertaining trip to the theater.

“Disturbia” stars Shia LaBeouf (of Disney Channel’s “Even Stevens”) as Kale, a decent kid whose life heads down the wrong path after his father dies unexpectedly. After getting into trouble one too many times, Kale is sentenced to spend the summer under house arrest. His mother, played by Carrie-Anne Moss, knows that Kale isn’t a bad seed, but encourages him to find something productive to do with his time by cutting off his XBox service and removing the TV from his bedroom.

With little to amuse him, Kale begins curing his boredom by spying on his neighbors, and spends a lot of time keeping tabs on his attractive new neighbor Ashley. What begins as a simple way to occupy his time turns serious when Kale becomes suspicious that one of his neighbors, Mr. Turner, may be the serial killer making headlines on the nightly news.

Ashley, Kale and Kale’s buddy Ronnie make it their mission to find out exactly what, if anything, their quiet neighbor is hiding.

“Disturbia” pays homage to one of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic films, “Rear Window,” but manages to maintain its own unique flavor which is made easier by the technological advances of the past 50 years.

The film has all the components of any teen thriller, but cements itself above many of the cheesier flicks by avoiding hackneyed situations and low end special effects. Rather, “Disturbia” takes its time to build a solid story filled with suspense and executes the climax with just the right amount of creepy, scary and reality, barring a few minor offenses.

LaBeouf does well balancing his character between being a kid with an attitude problem and a kid who deals with the pain of losing his father with whom he was close. He manages to make Kale, a kid under house arrest, likable.

David Morse nails the role of the polite, yet creepy, Mr. Turner. It’s difficult to tell, even up until the end, whether Turner is a murderer or simply a man who enjoys his privacy.

There are only two negatives I have to say about “Disturbia.” First is the frequency of shots where the boom mic enters the frame. I would like to hope you won’t notice, but the fact of the matter is, it’s a rather embarrassing error by the filmmakers. Second is the use of tight shots in an attempt to add suspense. Zooming in so close I can see an actor’s pores doesn’t add suspense, it makes me dizzy. Other than those two forgivable errors, “Disturbia” managed to keep me entertained with an interesting story and a good script.

I won’t spoil the end for you, you’ll have to check out “Disturbia” yourself to find out.

Note that “Disturbia” is rated PG-13 for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.


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