Neighbours from hell
‘Rear Window’ is given a teen-slanted re-do in this diverting thriller, writes Michael Dwyer
DISTURBIA Directed by DJ Caruso. Starring Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Aaron Yoo 15A cert, gen release, 104 min THERE is no acknowledgment in the credits of Disturbia for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller Rear Window, nor for the Cornell Woolrich short story on which it was based, even though there are similarities between the plots of the two movies. In each, the hero is housebound, passing the time by voyeuristically viewing the neighbours through binoculars until he suspects one of them of murder.
In Rear Window, the middleaged photographer played by James Stewart was confined to a wheelchair. In Disturbia, Kale, the 17-year-old played by Shia LaBeouf, is electronically tagged and placed under house arrest for the summer after punching his Spanish teacher in the face.
Of course, Kale has every new-fangled entertainment – Xbox, iTunes, widescreen cable TV – but as the screenwriters need to get him looking out his window, they contrive for his mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) to deprive him of these distractions.
As a bonus for Kale, he gets a hormonal rush from ogling Ashley (Sarah Roemer), the lithe student who lives next door. Ashley fulfils the function of the Grace Kelly character in Rear Window, being smart and enthusiastically sharing in Kale’s suspicions that a local man (David Morse) is a serial killer.
Director DJ Caruso, whose forgettable output includes Two for the Money and Taking Lives, is certainly not the inheritor of Hitchcock’s mantle, although he handles the suspense sequences efficiently in this diverting yarn. Disturbia will most likely be remembered as a stepping stone to success for the confident young LaBeouf, already dubbed the new Tom Hanks/John Cusack and now co-starring in Steven Spielberg’s fourth Indiana Jones adventure.
Suspicious minds: Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer in Disturbia