Written by Christopher B. Landon and Carl Ellsworth
Directed by D.J. Caruso
Running Time: 1:44
for sequences of terror and violence,
and some sensuality.
Disturbia was a pretty strong and interesting film that took a while to get going but led to a satisfying ending.
After Kale loses his father in a car accident, his life starts to fall apart. After getting arrested three times, a sympathetic judges sentences Kale to three months of house arrest, complete with an alarm wrapped around his leg. If he leaves his yard, the cops will come running and send him to jail. Left alone with only his thoughts, Kale starts to make a soap opera in his own mind about his neighbors. There's the guy across the street having an affair, the hot girl next door and the serial killer. Except these aren't all made up. Kale, his best friend Ronnie, and the aforementioned hot girl next door, Ashley, soon find themselves in a mystery that could eventually find them all dead.
Shia LaBeouf has suddenly become the 'it' guy in Hollywood these days and Disturbia could be considered the start of his more adult roles. Thankfully he leaves the childish humor of his old Disney series behind and plays the part of a troubled young kid pretty well. His slow decent into paranoia (real or imagined) is understandable considering he's locked up in his house. And yes, while that may sound like something easy to do, I'm guessing even the strongest of us would start to go nutty after a while. He's got his best friend Ronnie who is seemingly willing to do anything for Kale, and of course there's the hot girl who moves in next door. Their relationship is the one that I had the most trouble with because I'm pretty sure it's only in the movies where a guy can watch a girl through binoculars day after day, have her find out, and be OK with it. I'm thinking most women would beat the crap out of him then call the cops. But not our Miss Ashley - she digs the attention. Like I said, only in the movies.
The movie kind of takes a while to get going. The story involves the three kids believing that their next door neighbor happens to be a serial killer. We get small little background information for the first half of the film, then the story starts to come together. The problem of course is that because of the previews and the fact that the movie has been in theaters for a while, we know perfectly well that the guy next door is a serial killer. The mystery is taken out of the film when you only focus on one suspect. The good thing about the film is that even though I knew who the killer was, I still found myself interested in what was going to happen next.
I enjoyed the use of electronic equipment to bring a real sense of urgency to the film. There's one startling sequence that has Kale sending his friend Ronnie over to the killer's house with a video camera. It's kind of a higher rent Blair Witch Project for those few minutes. As the movie went along and we uncovered more and more of the story, the movie got tighter and tighter. The last 15-20 minutes was pretty striking and is good for a scare or two. The climactic scenes weren't as combatative as I would have liked, but there was still a moment or two where I wondered who would live and who would die.
The DVD extras are a mixed bag. The serial killer pop up is mildly interesting while you're watching the film. The making of documentary is pretty standard. The deleted scenes and outtakes are completely inconsequential and offer nothing new or interesting. Luckily the film can stand on its own two feet so the extras aren't all that necessary. This is worth picking up if you're in the mood for a good mid-level scare and a solid film.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed Disturbia. It's not the best film ever, but it's pretty solid and offers some good scares and a decent story.
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