Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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April 18, 2007

"Disturbia" is barely disturbing

by Erica Turner, Online Staff Writer
What would you do if you were stuck in your house for three months with no I-pod, X-Box or television? Spy on your neighbors, of course! Or at least that's what high school senior, Kale (Shia LaBeouf) does to pass the time after placed on court-ordered house arrest.

Bored to his wits in the confines of his home, Kale decides to turn to his neighbor's activities to cure his newfound monotonous life. At first, it's just the humorous events; pubescent boys watching X-rated films, husbands cheating on their wives with the maid, and the attractive girl-next-door Ashley (Sarah Roemer) sunbathing. The plot thickens when Kale begins to suspect that another neighbor, Robert Turner (David Morse), could be a serial murderer after Kale hears about a missing woman who lived in the area.

The film gets off to a slow start, and it takes a while to show any of Turner's murderous tendencies, leaving the audience desperately longing for a scare. After what seems like hours, the first act of violence occurs one night when Turner brings home a mystery woman from a bar but Kale, who has teamed up with Ashley, finds that their suspicions turn out to be a false alarm.

Many scenes are full of tense music and suspense, but that's it. One night, the teens witness Turner dragging a huge bloody tarp into his garage and decide that they must see what is inside to prove that he is a murderer. Kale's best friend Ronnie, (Aaron Yoo), decides to break into Turner's car to get the garage door opener. Once inside the garage, the lights go out: cue the tantalizing music. Ronnie and Kale keep in contact through a walkie-talkie but after this connection fails (what a surprise), Ronnie is in danger and Kale decides to leave his house and risk imprisonment in order to help his friend.

While this scene does its part to instill anxiety and fear in the audience, it does little to present a real scare. Sure, the film shows Turner break a few necks or hit a police officer over the head with a gun, but not once is a really sickening, devious murder depicted.

People looking to be jolted from their seats should take "Disturbia" off their list of movies to see. Most of the film takes place in Kale's bedroom and too much time is spent on the attraction between Kale and Ashley and not enough on Turner's malicious and frightening intentions.

It isn't until the end of the film that the horrific scenes begin to pick up the pace. As Kale is searching through Turner's house, the audience catches glimpses of some truly grisly sights, such as women wrapped in plastic stuck in the walls, a muddy pool of bodies, and a hidden room that looks like a hospital room-turned-torture-chamber, complete with an operating table.

Apparently, director D.J. Caruso did not want to get too gruesome with the murders and left the deadly details to the imagination of the audience. If you are interested in a light murder mystery with a few suspenseful shocks along the way, than by all means this movie fits the bill. Otherwise, the film just won't quite "Disturbia."

"Disturbia" runs for 104 minutes and is rated PG-13 for for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.

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  • scaredtodeath! (View Email) on April 19, 2007 at 8:59 PM
    wat r u tkn about? that movie reminded me of the texas chainsaw massacre! it was the most sacry movie i've ever seen!
  • copycats on April 19, 2007 at 9:20 PM
    this is a lot like alfred hitchcock's, "Rear Window". Why can't anyone be original anymore???
  • re: copycats on April 20, 2007 at 9:16 PM
    it's an update of rear window. no duh.
  • re: everything ever on April 22, 2007 at 4:42 PM
    This review misses the intention of the rear window re-make - yes, it was a little gory and gross, but the point was not to be another "The Hills Have Eyes 2." The movie was meant to mimic the daunting, suspenseful techniques of Alfred Hitchcock - it was meant to scare through substance and suspense rather than OH MY GOD THERE ARE ZOMBIES EVERYWHERE AND THEY'RE EATING MY ARM blah blah blah. While no one can replace the great AH, Disturbia, I felt, paid a credible homage.
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