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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Kale (Shia LaBeouf), right, and Ashley (Sarah Roemer) get their kicks by spying on neighbors.
    Kale (Shia LaBeouf), right, and Ashley (Sarah Roemer) get their kicks by spying on neighbors.

    Anyone who’s ever seen Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film “”Rear Window”” will know that “”Disturbia”” is a remake simply from watching the trailer. However, in this version all of the voyeuristic subplots and symbolism that helped make “”Rear Window”” a cinematic masterpiece are thrown out the window, and what’s left is a shell of the former story.

    Nevertheless, “”Disturbia”” works as a movie, which goes to show either Hitchcock’s prowess or the downfall of modern cinema. Take your pick.

    The film opens with Kale (Shia LaBeouf) fly-fishing with his father and sharing a Coke in a moment that reeks of Americana. Tables turn during the drive home when a vicious car crash sends Kale into depression and his father to the morgue. After punching his teacher in the face a few months later, he finds himself spending his summer vacation under house arrest.

    When Mom (Carrie-Anne Moss) unplugs his Xbox and iTunes, Kale finds entertainment by spying on his neighbors from the comfort of his home. At the same time, conveniently, the creepy guy who lives behind him (David Morse) decides to take up serial killing as a hobby.

    Flanked by the girl next door (Sarah Roemer) and his buddy Ronnie (Aaron Yoo), Kale sets out to expose their murderous neighbor.

    At this point “”Disturbia”” begins to unravel. Believability is chewed up and spit out

    Rating: PG-13
    Length: 104 min.
    Production Company: Paramount Pictures

    as LaBeouf’s character turns into MacGyver, re-coding garage door openers and wiring cameras to broadcast across the neighborhood. In addition, characters seem to develop 20/10 vision, spotting indiscrete movement in adjacent houses hundreds of feet away, and the killer starts to disappear and reappear better than most ninjas.

    The worst example of these lapses comes when Kale somehow hacks the blueprints for his neighbor’s house off the Internet and finds a small crawl space tucked behind the garage. As the climax arrives, the once-small nook turns into an elaborate, white-tiled clean room that leads to a basement, which eventually leads to another flooded sub-basement. You half expect the cast to find a tunnel leading to a water-filled cavern with a pirate ship, Çÿ la “”The Goonies.””

    However implausible it may be, “”Disturbia”” is still fun. Morse’s role as the killer is exciting to watch, and he carries the movie for large portions when LaBeouf’s coy adolescent angst becomes annoying.

    “”Disturbia”” is geared mostly towards teen audiences (it’s PG-13), but it’s still enjoyable for people out of high school. The frights translate across age groups and at a fast-paced 104 minutes you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time … or at least not a lot of it.

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