A teen living under house arrest becomes convinced his neighbor is a serial killer.
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?
It's been one year since seventeen year old Kale Brecht's father, Daniel Brecht, died, and Kale isn't coping well since he largely blames himself for the death. An incident associated with that inability to cope leads to Kale being sentenced to three-months house arrest for assault, he adorned with an ankle monitoring bracelet to ensure he does not step off his mother, Julie Brecht's, property. Bored, especially as his mother cuts off many of his privileges, Kale largely spends his time spying on his neighbors, most specifically his new classmate, the pretty Ashley Carlson, whose family just moved in next door. Ashley, who ends up introducing herself to Kale in her own boredom in needing to get away from her parents, and Kale's best friend, Ronnie Chu, join Kale in watching the goings-on of their neighbors. At first, they somewhat jokingly muse that one of the neighbors, seemingly fastidious Robert Turner, may be the culprit responsible for the recent disappearance of a woman in Austin, Texas based on a circumstantial piece of evidence they see. But the more and more they watch, the more and more Mr. Turner's activities seem to be suspicious in actually being able to commit violent crimes against women. Just when Kale believes he has the first solid piece of evidence - enough at least to delve into it further - Mr. Turner enters their lives in a more personal manner. For Kale, this becomes a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Mr. Turner, he believing that Mr. Turner not only is killing women, but that he knows they have been spying on him. To some extent, Ashley and Ronnie are willing participants in the game, understanding the dangers, but Kale's mom also becomes unwittingly embroiled in the danger, that danger especially if Mr. Turner is indeed what Kale thinks he is. Through it all, Kale is placed in the disadvantage that it is his word against Mr. Turner's - he convicted of a violent offense - and that he is confined to his mom's property, more than ten seconds outside the perimeter which alerts the police.
After his father's death, Kale Brecht becomes sullen, withdrawn, and troubled -- so much so that he finds himself under a court-ordered sentence of house arrest after a run in with the law. His mother, Julie, works night and day to support herself and her son, only to be met with indifference and lethargy. The walls of his house begin to close in on Kale. He becomes a voyeur as his interests turn outside the windows of his suburban home towards those of his neighbors, one of which Kale begins to suspect is a serial killer. But, are his suspicions merely the product of cabin fever and his overactive imagination?
After the death of his father in a car accident, Kale Brecht becomes a troublemaker and aggressive teenager. When he punches his Spanish teacher at school, he is sentenced to three months of house-arrest during his vacations. Kale snoops his neighbors with a binoculars and video camera for killing time, and becomes a voyeur of his next door neighbor Ashley Carlson. When Ashley sees Kale and his friend Ronnie at the window, he tells out of the blue that their neighbor Robert Turner seems to be a wanted serial killer from Austin, Texas. The trio sneaks around his house, and Kale begins to suspect that Mr. Turner might really be the murderer.
Kale Brecht is a 17-year-old who is placed under house arrest after punching one of his teachers. He is confined to his house with no available entertainment, and decides to use his free time spying on his neighbors. Things start to get weird when guests enter Robert Turner's house and not come back out. Kale and his friends, Ronnie and Ashley Carlson, start to grow more and more interested in what is actually happening within the house of Robert Turner.
- The film begins with a teenage boy and father fishing together. Kale Brecht (Shia LaBeouf) and his father, Daniel (Matt Craven), are involved in a car accident while returning from their fishing trip, which takes Daniel's life. A year passes in which Kale remains in a consistent state of melancholy and lifelessness. One day near the end of the school year, he is reprimanded by his Spanish teacher, Señor Gutierrez (Rene Rivera) for sleeping during class. When the teacher goes on to ask Kale what his father would think if he could see him now, Kale punches him in the face and proceeds to attack him. For this assault, which under normal circumstances could lead to a year in a juvenile detention center, he is sentenced by a sympathetic judge (Charles Carroll) to a three-month house arrest period with an ankle monitor and a proximity sensor, which prohibit him from roaming beyond the boundaries of his house and yard. He then learns that one of the police officers monitoring him is the teacher's arrogant cousin (Jose Pablo Cantillo), who takes delight in humiliating and embarrassing Kale in front of others, such as one occasion where he is forced to the ground after accidentally going past the limits of the yard, while chasing a group of boys that play a prank on him.
Initially, he satiates his boredom by playing video games, but shortly after, his mother, Julie Brecht (Carrie-Anne Moss), cancels his subscriptions to the iTunes Music Store and Xbox Live, as well as cutting the power cord of his television, to force him to help around the house more. His boredom leads him to spy upon the surrounding neighborhood. One night, Kale becomes suspicious of his neighbor, Robert Turner (David Morse), who returns home in a 1967 Ford Mustang with a dented fender, matching the description given on a news report detailing an errant serial killer from Austin, Texas. Kale and his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) begin to view the girl next door, Ashley Carlson (Sarah Roemer). She is alerted to their spying when Ronnie's binoculars collide with the window; she subsequently decides to join them.
Ronnie and Ashley dismiss Kale's suspicions initially, regarding them as based on circumstantial evidence. But they become gradually more involved when events inside Turner's house lead them to believe that he has been abducting women and murdering them there. Kale observes a woman Turner had picked up from a nightclub trying to escape the house in a panicked state. However she is later seen to leave. Thinking nothing is wrong, Ashley has a party, which Kale ruins by blasting Minnie Riperton music out his window. After Kale and Ashley have a conversation, they start making out. A scene then shows blood splattering on Turner's window, which both teens fail to see. Later, with Kale and Ashley watching, Turner is seen to drag a heavy bag to his garage, which Ashley claims to have seen blood on.
Kale insists that Ronnie break into Turner's car to get his garage door opener to continue investigating. While Turner is at the store to buy a shovel, Ronnie retrieves the garage door opener code but unfortunately leaves his cell phone behind. That night, Kale keeps spying on Turner and leaves messages on Ronnie's cell phone. When Ronnie discovers that he left his cellphone in Turner's car, they attempt to get it back by opening the garage door. They do this successfully and Ronnie finds the bag and says he can see hair in addition to blood, leading the two of them to conclude that it really does contain a human body. The garage door is suddenly shut and Ronnie hides in the house while Kale attempts to rescue him, in the process, alerting the police to the breach of his house arrest. As the police arrive they search the house and discover that Ronnie does not seem to be anywhere inside. Checking the garage reveals that the bag contains the remains of a deer that Turner had hit on the interstate. Kale fears Ronnie is dead, but later discovers that he escaped, unharmed, fearing that he would be caught if he stayed and confessed to breaking into the house.
Kale's mother Julie then goes across the street to talk to Turner herself, in hopes of steering him away from pressing charges. While she is there, Kale watches Ronnie's tape, which he left on the whole time he was making his escape from Turner's house. As Ronnie falls over in his haste in the tape, he accidentally filmed something hidden behind an air vent, so Kale zooms in to see what it is. It looks like a clear bag, with something in it. He zooms in further and sees what is clearly, the dead body of a girl. At the same moment, Turner knocks out Julie.
Turner then moves into Kale's house and hits Ronnie on the head with an aluminum baseball bat. He then goes after Kale, who tries to signal the police by unplugging his proximity sensor, then runs outside to trigger his ankle monitor, but in the end fails to escape. Turner knocks him out and duct tapes his limbs together, as well as duct tapes his mouth shut. Turner then reveals his plan to frame Kale for the murder of his mother, due to grief over his father, and Ronnie, due to annoyance over going out with Ashley, before killing himself. As Turner has Kale writing a suicide letter to Ashley, she enters his bedroom, surprising the killer. Kale knocks Turner down, giving him and Ashley a chance to escape. They leap out of Kale's window, landing in Ashley's pool, also alerting the police of Kale's escape.
Kale grabs a pair of garden shears and goes to search for his mother in Turner's house while Ashley goes to warn the police. In a room resembling an operating theatre, Kale finds credentials belonging to Turner's previous victim, the redheaded club girl, as well as a wig, suggesting Turner wore the wig and it was him Kale saw leaving the house. Officer Gutierrez arrives at the scene in the hope of charging Kale for breaking and entering, but he is killed when Turner sneaks up behind him and breaks his neck. Proceeding to the basement of the house, Kale falls through the floor and finds himself floating in a pool along with several dead bodies in various states of decay. He manages to climb out and finds his mother bound and gagged underneath the foundation. Turner suddenly appears from behind Julie and attempts to silence Kale and his mother. Julie stabs Turner in the leg, giving Kale time to kill Turner with the pair of gardening shears. As Kale and Julie exit the garage, the police arrive, and their ordeal with Turner is over.
The next scene then shows Kale in his kitchen getting his ankle monitor removed and released from house arrest for "good behavior". It then shows Kale getting revenge on the neighborhood kids who put a bag of flaming dog feces on his porch, provoking him to leave the bounds of his house arrest while chasing them, and water-bombed him the night Ashley had her party. Previously in the movie, he had discovered them watching pornographic TV while looking out from his window. This time he is watching them with Ashley and calls their mother pretending to be with their satellite TV provider and says someone is currently watching adult movies in their room. Their mother rushes into their room and discovers the boys, securing Kale's revenge but then he says that he hopes for more as that was only his first strike.
In the end Ashley and Kale begin making out on a sofa when they are interrupted by Ronnie, who is fine apart from a black eye, filming them with plans to put the video up on YouTube. Nevertheless, they do not show any sign of annoyance other than Kale doing a half hearted middle finger at Ronnie. The film ends with the song (One Man Wrecking Machine).