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Disturbia: How well do you know your neighbors?

April 19th, 2007

“Rear Window” was a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock more than 50 years ago. The movie’s plot was about a man who was stuck inside his apartment for months due to a broken leg. He soon becomes helplessly bored, but finds entertainment by spying on his neighbors, only to eventually witness a murder occur through his rear window.

“Disturbia” offers a reinvention of this classic movie with a new-age twist and a fresh cast of young faces. The main character, Kale Brecht (Shia LaBeouf), is a troubled teen who is working through the tragedy of his father’s recent death.

Recently placed on house arrest, Kale (Shia LaBeouf), spends his free time spying on the cute girl next door and solving murder mysteries.

Recently placed on house arrest, Kale (Shia LaBeouf), spends his free time spying on the cute girl next door and solving murder mysteries.

With his failing grades and lost touch with society, Kale lashes out at his teacher and ends up with three months of court-ordered house arrest.

Unable to stray farther than 10 feet from his front door, Kale seeks comfort in his XBox 360 and iTunes–until his mother cancels his accounts.

After he tires of watching television and creating sculptures out of junk food, Kale turns to watching the residents on his quiet street.

Day by day, Kale learns the habits and routines of his neighbors, especially those of Ashley (Sarah Roemer), the new girl next door.

With the help of Kale’s friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo), and some video surveillance equipment, the two become modern age peeping toms. The boys shamelessly spy on Ashley while she swims and sunbathes and are eventually caught by her. To their disbelief, she actually takes an interest in their neighborhood spying hobby and joins the team (how convenient).

When reports of mysterious abductions appear on the local news, they realize that Mr. Turner (David Morse), the man next door, seems a little mysterious, and they continue to monitor his house for any suspicious behavior. The team conducts Internet searches on serial killers and set out to prove that Mr. Turner has something to do with the missing girls.

From the looks of it, “Disturbia” appears to be another teeny-bopper movie for high-strung teenagers looking for a little scare (the PG-13 rating might tip you off). On the contrary, “Disturbia” was consistently suspenseful and entertaining. The cast was believable and likeable and successfully delivered a thrilling experience with hints of humor thrown here and there. Shia LaBeouf gave an excellent performance and will use this movie as his vehicle into larger roles on bigger productions.

Though the movie will not win any awards, “Disturbia” was definitely a breath of fresh air and just might make you pay more attention to your own neighbors.