Monday, September 10, 2007


Shia LeBoeuf, David Morse, Carrie Ann Moss,
Matt Craven,Sarah Roemer, Aaron Yoo

"Every killer lives next door to someone"

Cinema 3, Shang Cineplex

Disturbia which comes from a play on words from “Suburbia” starts off pretty intense. Within the first ten minutes, you feel a lump in your throat as you witness the horrific car accident which claims the life of Kale’s (Shia LeBoeuf) father. This scene comes right after you see a heartwarming father - son bonding moment while fly fishing. It was quite unnerving.

Then you settle down and patiently wait then wait some more for the nitty gritty parts to get rolling. By that, I mean the part where you know there is a serial killer (David Morse) living next door so you expect some gory blood splattering moments. A year later, Kale has an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor his movements for three months. His ‘punishment’ after he punched his Spanish teacher in the face. So how does a teenager with all the modern electronic gadgets at his disposal while away his boredom? He turns into a voyeur by spying on the comings and goings of his neighbors, particularly on Ashley, who just moved in next door with her parents. By this point, you start wondering if this is yet another teen flick where a teen aged peeping tom with his token Asian best friend (Aaron Yoo) tries to establish some love connection with his new female neighbor, Ashley. (Sarah Rohmer)

Meanwhile, you only get bits and pieces of information on the criminal activities supposedly perpetrated by creepy next door neighbor, Mr Turner. A news report on the TV, a passing glimpse on a newspaper article, suspicious behavior from said neighbor and a whole load of paranoid assumptions from Kale.

You tell me if you had to pick between a frisky teen aged voyeur and a creepy serial killer which one would be the more fascinating character to explore? The latter, right? But yes I realize the main premise of the movie is the voyeuristic tendency of the main character but this only proves that if you are a nosey person then you truly deserve the more than you bargained for share of trouble.

The chill factor comes in the final moments of the film, a tad too late and too in your face for comfort. Accompanied by the standard ingredients for scare tactic scenes - the loud dramatic creepy music, the flashing of lightning and the dark basement with floating bodies. It felt like in the course of the film they realize they are running out of tape so they just haphazardly throw in the good guy is chased by the villain scene just to give the film its climax.

The movie has a lot of loopholes but it is mainly salvaged by the fine acting performance of Shia LeBouef. A young actor whose facial expressions can change within seconds. He projects well on screen and has a wide acting range for someone so young. He shows potential and hopefully he doesn't waste it in some teen flick. The towering frame and gruff voice of David Morse makes an excellent villain, for sure. But they should have developed his multi-faceted character more instead of merely showcasing him as some menacing figure who harassed girls in a parking lot.

This film was touted as the “Rear Window” for the MTV generation. This is definitely not a Hitchcockian thriller. The more shocking part (for me) came when Kale pointed out to Ashley she is ‘different’ from the average teenager in this age of the iPod, YouTube and the Internet. Why? Because get this, she reads books instead of partying. Now that’s disturbing.

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