Review: ‘Disturbia’ suspenseful 

Inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Rear Window," "Disturbia" is an efficient tale of voyeurism and suburban snooping, as Kale (Shia LaBeouf), a restless teen with too much time on his hands, becomes convinced that his next-door neighbor is a serial killer. Like Hitchcock’s photographer in a wheelchair, Kale is confined to his bedroom with his binoculars, after a troublesome assault charge leaves him under house arrest. Unlike Hitchcock’s amateur sleuth, Kale has Internet access and a digital video camera, leading to a high-tech stakeout that climaxes in a violent, though largely bloodless, showdown.

Although "Disturbia" takes its time working toward a conclusion that seems somewhat foregone, it is a lively, engaging thriller, thanks in large part to LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer, who plays Ashley, the bikini-clad girl next door. LaBeouf ("Holes") is a supremely self-assured performer with natural comic instincts, and he makes the most of his leading turn as the sharp-eyed neighborhood watchman. At first, Kale’s voyeurism is all harmless fun — gazing at Ashley while she lounges seductively by the pool, spying on a trio of boys with a fancy for late-night skin flicks. Before long, though, he turns his attention to a more sinister target.

When Kale notices that his new neighbor, Mr. Turner (the always reliable David Morse), drives a vintage car matching the description of a vehicle reportedly used in a kidnapping, his curiosity is piqued. After witnessing a series of bizarre incidents at the Turner household, he begins to suspect the worst, and recruits Ashley and Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) to aid in his increasingly obsessive pursuit.

"Disturbia" isn’t nearly as sophisticated or stylish as "Rear Window" — no surprise there — and its abrupt descent into third-act violence is too predictable a payoff. Even so, director D.J. Caruso’s homage to Hitchcock is a tense, engrossing journey into the heart of suburban paranoia, where the proverbial white-picket fences provide the flimsiest of defenses against the monsters among us.

Disturbia ***

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Aaron Yoo

Written by Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth

Directed by D.J. Caruso

Rated PG-13

Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
Pin It

Speaking of Entertainment

More by Staff Report

Latest in Other Arts

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation