Director: DJ Caruso

Dubbed Rear Window for teens, this highly entertaining yet admittedly implausible thriller channels Hitchcock for Generation Y in its compelling tale of Kale, a seventeen year old high school student (Shia LaBeouf) still grieving the tragic death of his father who receives a three month house arrest sentence over the summer after punching out his Spanish teacher. Beginning his summer with the usual teenage methods of distraction ranging from iTunes, Xbox to trash TV until mother Carrie-Anne Moss intervenes by cutting off his access to mindless distraction, Kale’s attention soon turns to spying on his neighbors, especially after the arrival of Ashley, the beautiful new girl next door (Sarah Roemer). However, his mild stalker behavior and voyeuristic male gaze upon Ashley is replaced when he begins to notice strange behavior regarding his neighbor Mr. Turner (David Morse) whom he soon suspects is the serial killer of young women featured on the nightly news. Enlisting Ashley’s help, along with his friend Ronnie (a hilarious Aaron Yoo), Kale begins a highly state-of-the-art technical stakeout that not only uses the binoculars made famous by Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window but also incorporates twenty-first century technology including camera equipped cell phones, DV cameras, and other gadgets the teens cook up. While it does take awhile to get going and some of the plot elements are a bit contrived, it’s still a smart and spooky thriller and one much better than the majority of films being offered in the recent theatrical influx of teen scare-fests. Morse is excellent as the creepy, possibly dangerous neighbor, relishing in his menacing character complete with a new-age earring and slicked back hair. According to IMDB, method actor Morse was so involved in his portrayal that he didn’t converse with the young cast members during the shoot to add to the authenticity and kept going during a fight with the leading man after a few of his fingers were broken, managing to alarm LaBeouf even more. One of the better teen suspense films since Final Destination and Hitchcock fans will want to be sure to check it out.

Music from Disturbia

“One Man Wrecking Machine” by Guster
Guster - Ganging Up On the Sun - One Man Wrecking Machine

“Lonely Day” by System of a Down
System of a Down - Hypnotize - Lonely Day

“Next To You” by Buckcherry
Buckcherry - Disturbia (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Next to You

“Always Love” by Nada Surf
Nada Surf - Disturbia (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Always Love