Friday, April 4, 2008


"Disturbia" (DJ Caruso, 2007) Take "Rear Window" and remove any veneer of civility to it and you have "Disturbia." The voyeur this time around is a kid with an ankle bracelet and a three-month house probation. After exploring his boundaries and testing his limits, he grows tired of electronics and junk-food, and begins to spy on his neighbors for thrills. Fortunately there're the new neighbors next door with the comely daughter, and unfortunately, there's the creepy older guy (David Morse, who can play good or bad angels interchangeably) who clubs and routinely brings home one-night-stands with one-too-many.

Did I mention that a lot of young women are routinely disappearing?

Did I mention that said grounded voyeur's recently widowed mom might have "the hots" for this guy? And before you can say "I am thy father's spirit," the kid is thinking she's in danger.

What separates "Disturbia" from Hitchcock's older, wiser film and why Sir Alfred and John Michael Hayes are head and tails better that DJ Caruso and Chris Landon and Charles Ellsworth is that the situation was set up in a way that the windows that James Stewart's character peered into were like mini-movie theaters reflecting his own fears of settling down in a domestic situation (even if it is with Grace Kelly) His voyeur recognized himself in his various targets, but young Kale Brecht (Shia LaBoeuf) has no such depth. True, his vantage point is limited to three houses, but all of them are antagonists of a sort. He's dead set against two of them, and the girl he just WANTS to be against. And being as this is a movie aimed at teens, the resulting Guignol is Grand and then, not so, sort of like "The Silence of the Lambs" without a hint of maid service, designed to merely creep out and punch up the "ick" factor. And, of course, it has to be resolved with the kid taking direct, violent action because, hey, he's a teen-ager--he needs to consciously murder someone to fulfill himself. I advised K. against watching as it was nightmare material. I sent "Disturbia" on its merry little way to infect another household, not unlike the tape in "The Ring."

No comments: