I walked into Disturbia having no idea what the hell it would be about, and was pleasantly surprised to be watching a modern day remake of one of my favourite films, Rear Window.
High school student Kale (Shia LeBeouf) gets put under house arrest for punching a teacher, which entails having one of those electronic tag bracelets that Donna Awatere-Huata had so he can’t go beyond his front yard. His Milf (Carrie-Anne Moss from Memento and The Matrix) takes away his iPod and Xbox (I wouldn’t be surprised if Disturbia earned more from product placement than actual screenings), leaving him with little to do but spy on his neighbours. He uncovers an affair across the street, little kids watching porn next door, and a guy two doors down who may or may not be embalming women and keeping them in plastic bags in his garage.
The guy (David Morse) even looks a bit like Hannibal Lecter, and does lots of creepy things like hit on Kale’s mum, chase club girls around his house, and cut up chunks of meat in his garage. He also has several things which link him to recent disappearances – such as a dented fender on his Mustang – which disappear as soon as Kale shows them to anybody else. Kale, his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo), and the hot new girl next door Ashley (Sarah Roemer) quickly become intrigued and begin watching.
Disturbia is certainly effective at ratcheting up the tension to the point where I was jumping at things such as Kale’s mum entering the room. The staged finale also hit the spot. Disturbia can be a bit cheap, commercial and unrealistic, but it achieves its goals quite well. Go see it if you have a couple of hours to kill.