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DISTURBIA

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss
Director: D.J. Caruso
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Dreamworks
Features: See Review
Length: 104 Minutes
Release Date: August 7, 2007

ďIt reeks in here.Ē

ďWhatís it smell like?Ē

ďThe corpse of a rotting HOTTIE!Ē

Film ***

Who knew that a teen horror flick would end up being something nearly refreshing? If Disturbia has one big thing going for it, itís a fantastic sense of timing. Since most horror thrillers these days are relentless gorefests, which arenít always bad, the movie is refreshing in the way it builds tension all the way to a very intense final thirty minutes.

Disturbia isnít the most original thriller Iíve ever seen, but it is a rather inspired blending of a modern teen flick mixed in with thriller elements reminiscent of Hitchcock. The overall plot is without question inspired by Rear Window.

Shia LaBeouf has had quite a year both with this film and Transformers. He is a perfect fit for the role of Kale Brecht, a teen sentenced to three months house arrest for assaulting his Spanish high school teacher. The reasons for the assault Iíll leave for you to discover.

So with an electronic ankle bracelet in tact, Kale canít go more than 100 feet away from his house. For now his only connection with the outside world are his binoculars, after his mom (Carrie-Anne Moss, still great looking for her age, I must say) takes away his internet and Xbox access. Aside from some TV viewing here and there, the only thing Kale can do to make the time go by is to spy on his neighbors.

Kaleís spying soon catches the attention of a new neighbor named Ashley (beautiful newcomer Sarah Roemer). She isnít turned off but rather intrigued by his spying hobby, so much to the point that she becomes a regular guest at his house, as does his best high school bud, Ronnie (Aaron Yoo). Before long, the three are staking out the entire neighborhood just for kicks.

The main focus of the spying is Kaleís next door neighbor, Robert Turner (David Morse). After hearing several news reports about several kidnapped women, Kale begins to suspect that Robert may be the culprit. The big suspicious link is that Robertís car happens to be a slightly dented red Mustang, which is the exact description of the car the latest kidnapped victim was seen getting into.

Disturbia, directed with a great sense of atmosphere by D.J. Caruso (The Salton Sea), succeeds in the rarest form. Though the plot is, to a certain degree, predictable the movie jolts by switching gears in the last 30 minutes, becoming an intense slasher flick. After watching the movie, Iím honestly surprised that the movie was able to receive a PG-13 rating.

In the end, Disturbia is a definite must see affair for all fans of horror thrillers. This flick, along with Vacancy, works as a terrific retro-thriller in that scares are delivered without much gore but in a good enough old-fashioned way, which I really appreciated. And the cast, led by the terrifically likable Shia LaBeouf, makes it an even more enjoyable thriller.

Video ****

This Dreamworks release presents a top-notch presentation all the way. Being that a great deal of the movie is shot in darkly lit set pieces, the anamorphic picture comes off as even more impressive. The image is nothing but pure crisp and clear quality from beginning to end.

Audio ****

The 5.1 EX mix really adds some intensity to an already intense flick. The filmís opening and closing segments deliver the real audio jolts, but the scenes in between manage to deliver some impressive qualities as well. Dialogue delivery as well as some ferocious music cues also add a lot to this fantastic sounding presentation.

Features ***

Included on this disc is a commentary by director D.J. Caruso and actors Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roemer, as well as Deleted Scenes, a featurette titled ďThe Making of DisturbiaĒ, a Serial Pursuit Trivia Pop-Up Quiz, Outtakes, a music video for the song "Don't Make Me Wait" by This World Fair, and a Photo Gallery.

Summary:

Disturbia is a thriller that really delivers, as long as you can accept the building up to the most intense final half, and the wait is definitely worth it. It can very much be considered this generationís Rear Window, as well as one of the better teen horror thrillers in quite some time.

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