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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Entering Disturbia

Published: April 27, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Few would deny Disturbia offers a fair amount of amusement. The film is an updated version of Hitchcocks Rear Window. In order to appeal to its teenage audience, Disturbia is a lot racier, violent, and more technologically advanced than its predecessor.

Disturbias plot is simple and predictable. Shia LaBeouf plays Kale, a well-adjusted and content high school student whose father is tragically killed by an oncoming car while Kale is at the wheel. The loss of his father sends Kale into a tailspin;

he becomes a delinquent, and is put under house arrest for three months after he punches his Spanish teacher. Kale is forced to wear a motion sensor and cannot leave the designated 100 foot radius of his home;

bored with technology, he has nothing to do but look out his window.

Kale shamelessly spies on his neighbors, and becomes obsessed with one in particular: Ashley, played by Sarah Roemer, whose family has just moved into the house next door. Kale then notices that the man who lives across the street from him, Mr. Turner, fits the description of and owns a car similar to the one driven by the wanted serial killer he read about in the news. Kale, Ashley, and Aaron, Kales friend from school, begin to closely watch Mr. Turner. During their not-so-subtle investigation, Mr. Turner becomes aware of their spying. A series of misadventures eventually lead to Kales confrontation with Mr. Turner in the films climactic final sequence. Ill give you one guess as to how the story ends.

There are many holes in Disturbias plot;

and while some are easy to ignore, others are glaringly obvious. Most of these holes cause Mr. Turner's legitimacy as an seasoned murderer to be questioned. For example, when Ashley is following Mr. Turner, he forces his way into her car without warning and ominously tells her how important his privacy is to him. Not only is the scene absurd, but it is also unlikely that Mr. Turner would act that way if he was trying to end the teens' suspicions. It is also implausible that an experienced killer would be so careless as to leave his blinds open while committing his latest murder. A final problem with the script is that it requires Kale to have access to incredible amounts of technology which he uses to follow Mr. Turner, right in his home. Technology may have advanced since Rear Window, but his gadgets are too sophisticated and expensive to come by on a teenagers allowance.

Although Mr. Turner is a sufficiently creepy villain, the movie is much more enjoyable when it is not trying to frighten. In fact, the most chilling and upsetting scene in the whole film occurs when Kales father is killed in the car accident. Disturbia is unlike other thrillers of today in that practically all of the really gruesome moments in the film occur during the movies final scene. Unfortunately, this finale is too flashy, and does not deliver.

Disturbia might be predictable and, at times, severely flawed;

it does however, provide a moderate amount of suspense and fun. Is it great? Certainly not. Will its target audience love it? Definitely.