Saturday, April 21, 2007


I had planned to go see the opening of Hot Fuzz this weekend, but unfortunately, the nearest theater that was showing it is two hours away. Instead I had to settle for this suburban horror flick. As many have probably noted, it's essentially a cross between Rear Window and the Burbs. It takes the tension of isolation from Rear Window, and the comedy of a truly dysfunctional, and bizarre neighborhood from the Burbs. I wasn't anticipated very much going into it, but I must say, it was not terrible.

A rather lengthy exposition results in Kale (played by Shia LeBeouf) being paced under house arrest. He is not allowed to leave his property for three months. At first it's great, but eventually he begins to go stir-crazy. To alleviate his boredom he starts spying on the neighbors. Among them, the family that moved in next to him, including daughter, Ashley (played by Sarah Roemer). The two of them develop an odd little relationship that revolves around spying on yet another neighbor, Mr. Turner (David Morse), whom they suspect of murder. This is where a bulk of the movie is centered.

The movie features an interesting blend of horror, while still focusing on character development. The relationship between Kale and Ashley grows along with their suspicion of Turner. There are some genuinely scary scenes when Ashley and their other friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) are doing Kale's dirty work, while he watches on helplessly. These scenes are more or less taken directly from Rear Window, and updated. The tension grows as Kale leaves his house, and the police are called several times. Of course, him being a criminal himself, nobody believes him.

Kale's mother, Julie (Carrie Ann-Moss), was my favorite character. Kale literally seems to be destroying her with his activities. As the movie progresses, she gets more and more desperate and unhappy, eventually turning to Turner for companionship. The relationship between Kale and his mom provides some of the best drama in the movie, while the chemistry between Kale and Ashley, is never all that believable.

This movie doesn't offer very many surprises, but it does do a fine job of building tension. you genuinely feel apprehension with the characters, and David Morse plays a pretty creepy character. As I said earlier, this movie takes the effort and time to develop the characters, but unfortunately, these scenes are not that interesting. There is an almost excruciatingly long exposition, and many extraneous scenes.

Disturbia is certainly not the best movie I have seen recently, but it's not the worst either. Some parts were a bit dull, but it still gets credit for bringing depth to the characters in a genre that normally does not. Shia LeBeouf and Carrie Ann-Moss sculpt engaging characters, proving that she can do much more than the Matrix, and that he has a long promising career. In the end, this movie isn't fascinating, but it has its moments.


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