Disturbia - DVD review




As teen movies go Disturbia certainly manages to reach new heights based on its dubious concept which can only be described as Alfred Hitchcock meets council estate chic.

The elaborate opening car crash sets the tone for jumps a-plenty as Shia LaBeouf’s angst-ridden teen Kale gets over his Dad’s death the only way modern day teens can; by punching his teacher. His comeuppance is a summer holiday spent under house arrest with only last years must have fashion accessory (an electronic tag) for company. Never fear however as soon there is plenty to entertain him in the guise of fit-and-she-knows it Ashley (Sarah Roemer), comedy companion Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and is he/isn’t he murderer Robert Turner (David Morse).

The drama of Disturbia’s opening, however, only serves to highlight its uselessness in terms of what it contributes to the whole piece. Obviously it’s designed to ensure we feel sympathetic to Kale but by the time the film reaches the hour mark you’ll be so far towards the edge of your seat that you’ll have forgotten why it is he can’t leave the house and spy on Turner anyway. The film's conclusion is similarly pointless as director D. J. Caruso sacrifices all sense of tension and dread for a messy miss-match of genres and ideas which never leaves us in any doubt about each respective character’s fate.

Disturbia’s opening can be ignored but it is its end which spoils a fantastic middle section where Caruso shows real talent to increase the tension through clever suggestion rather than overt horror shtick. LaBeouf similarly turns his angst-ridden Kale into a sympathetic character whose frustration draws the audience in to a point where you really don’t mind when he treads on thin ice spying on a near-naked Ashley in her bedroom and subsequently her pool.

Occasionally Disturbia is too-ready to revert to simple scare tactics (jumping cats, hands on shoulders, etc.) but there is enough crafted tension here to keep you confined to your seat without the need for a smartly crafted ankle bracelet.



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