After his father is killed in a car accident, things unravel for Kale Brecht and he is placed under house-arrest for punching his Spanish teacher. Having nothing better to do, Kale occupies himself by spying on his neighbors. But one night, he witnesses what appears to be a murder going on in Mr. Turner's house. Kale becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind these murders but, after a few unsettling run-ins with Mr. Turner, it becomes a matter of life and death. And the ominous question: Who is watching whom? Written by
Disturbia is one of the best PG13 thrillers that I've seen in a long time. After all the other rated PG13 thrillers that have come out in the past six years or so, DJ Caruso, who directed, proves that it has always been possible to make a good suspenseful thriller these days without all the gore.
Shia Labeouf plays Kale Brecht. After witnessing the death of his father in a car accident, he becomes sullen and withdrawn. This leads to him being put under house arrest after he punches out an unsympathetic teacher. Imprisoned in his own house, and unable to go beyond 100 yards, he finds himself turning into a peeping tom and spying on all the neighbors. One of them is the attractive new girl in town named Ashley (Sarah Roemer) and another may be a killer named Mr. Turner (David Morse). With the help of the new girl Ashley, his friend Ronnie (a great comedic turn by Aaron Yoo), Kale goes about investigating Mr. Turner to see if he is the killer or not. The three teenagers use cell phones and the internet as well as video cameras in the investigation, and DJ Caruso shows some of his sly wit by using these same devices in the film to not only investigate the spooky neighbor, but also to create some humor to go along with everything else.
The plot is a familiar one. That would be because the great Alfred Hitchcock used it first with his famous suspense thriller Rear Window. Yes Disturbia is a blatant rip-off of that movie, but it is done with skill, and the acting by all, including Carrie Anne Moss as Kale's mother, was very good. All the characters are likable, and David Morse's turn as the creepy Mr. Turner was well done as well.
Disturbia may not be a great movie, but it is definitely one of the best PG13 thrillers in years. It outshines such horror thrillers as Cursed and Pulse, as well as the recent horror thriller The Messengers. Disturbia also once again proves that you don't need a bunch of gore to make an effective horror thriller. Horror directors take note.
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