Disturbia (Caruso, 2007)

If there were any doubts before, they’ve been put to rest. Alfred Hitchcock is definitely turning over in his grave. Disturbia, an uneven and slightly entertaining unofficial remake of Rear Window, goes nowhere, but exactly as it should. Kale (Shia LeBeouf), who’s put under house arrest after punching a teacher, begins a voyeuristic search into his neighborhood’s secrets, finding out some dirty things particularly about his next door neighbor who may be a serial killer. Disturbia hits all the expected plot points, injects unnecessary funny moments, and wallows in slasher genre pacing for good measure. I’ve never liked Caruso as a director, mainly because he masks his generic characters with over stylized images. Even though Disturbia abandons the hyper kinetic melodrama of Caruso’s prior films The Salton Sea and Two For the Money, most of it’s characters (like Carrie Ann-Moss’s helpless Mom and David Morse’ one note villain) turn out exactly the way you’d think. But all this is no fault of the film’s rising star LeBeouf, who’s boyish charm and harsh physicality make his Kale the only worthy participant. Disturbia might signal the birth of a new bankable actor in LeBeouf, but it just reinforces Hollywood’s interest in rehashing the status quo over innovative entertainment. Guess old Hitch will be be busy turning for a while.

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