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Disturbia: Shia LaBeouf Shines in Capable Thriller

I can't think of a better way to describe Disturbia than as a Rear Window for teens, and as a modern homage, the entertaining thriller is highly enthralling, if not incredibly complex. Shia LaBeouf, who I'm ready to declare one of the most natural young actors working today, is excellent as Kale, a troubled teen who punches his Spanish teacher when the teacher makes a rude comment about Kale's recently deceased dad.

Sentenced to a summer of house arrest, Kale at first spends his time on trivial pursuits like playing video games and building towers out of Twinkies. But soon, he develops a new hobby: watching the seemingly mundane routines of his neighbors play out as "reality TV without the TV." He's particularly interested in Ashley, the very hot city girl who just moved in next door; soon, she realizes what Kale is up to and wants to peek too.

In true Hitchcock style, the movie's suspense builds very slowly from there and keeps us guessing the whole time, so

Disturbia benefits from a well-written script that — aside from one cheesy but obligatory romantic scene — never feels unnatural or forced. That keeps us compelled even during the first three-quarters of the film, which is relatively light on action: Kale flirts with Ashley, talks back to his mom (Carrie-Ann Moss), and grows more and more paranoid with each passing day that his neighbor (David Morse) is actually the perpetrator of a recent murder. With an arsenal of surveillance technology that seems excessive even for a rich suburban teen, Kale, Ashley, and his buddy Ronnie become obsessed with catching the man in some sordid act.

But of course, paranoia often begets mistaken accusations, and after several run-ins with the neighbor and a few embarrassing cries of wolf, Kale's friends begin to think maybe he's the problem. As viewers, we also start to suspect that this neighbor is just a normal, if slightly creepy, guy.

As the movie progresses, I found myself veering between being completely at ease and scared out of my wits. That, my friends, is the mark of a good thriller, and Disturbia never reaches to be anything but. The pleasant surprise is that, thanks to capable actors and a neat little script, the movie rises above the standard teen fare.

Photo courtesy of DreamWorks

bella85 bella85 8 years
Watched the movie a few days ago and I think it is excellent entertainment. Shia is great (and yummy) as Kale and it never gets boring. I recommend it to you if you want to have a thrilling movie evening!
mrsyuen mrsyuen 10 years
I thought it was a good movie, saw it at the movie theatre, Shia looked cute in it, I would recommend this movie
bellahoney bellahoney 10 years
wow, shia has become reall hot. ;]
sweetnsour sweetnsour 10 years
This was an awesome movie! It reminds me of the first SCREAM. It was funny, witty, suspensful, and heart-pounding.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
carmel latte, you are so right about crobe 29's accusation. And Buzz, you have every right to be outraged by such unfounded criticism. Your review, as always, is on target and refreshing. I'm looking forward to seeing this one.
amandasunly amandasunly 10 years
Ooh I wanna watch! Argh have to wait a while before it comes out here.
Classy-Amelia Classy-Amelia 10 years
I want to see Disturbia. It seems like a interesting movie.
jendudley jendudley 10 years
I saw it today and it was a great suspense movie. I was on edge for the last quarter of the movie. GO SEE IT! You won't be disappointed.
caramel-latte caramel-latte 10 years
woah, what, crobe29?? the filmmakers WANTED this to be like a teen "Rear Window." I don't see any copying from the NYT article, I really don't. And it's pretty harsh to cry plaigiarism, especially when you can't back up that accusation.
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
Hey Crobe29, what on earth makes you think I plagiarized the New York Times? The fact that we both compare the teen move to Rear Window — like pretty much every other critic in America?
crobe29 crobe29 10 years
you should really not plagorize your reviews from the new york times.
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Tritter! I think I might like to see this movie after your review, thanks!
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