Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: Disturbia



After the unfortunate road-death of his father, bitter and rebellious Kale (Shia Lebeuolf) 'pops' his Spanish teacher in the face and is sequestered to home imprisonment for three months. With an electronic device secured around one of his ankles to make sure he does not leave his home (police are notified immediately if he breaches its sensory perimeters), Kale then resigns himself to outwit the cerebral sufferings confinement can impose on the human psyche.

This is the premise at its most basic, and - of course - sudden influences spring to mind. We have Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) , but even that, in essence, was just a retelling of a film made five years previous entitled The Window. One could argue that Disturbia is just a slavish and dumbed-down imitation featuring teenagers - and to some extent it is. Although this does not take away any of the viewing gratification. The teenagers who come to the forefront are Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and Ashley (Sarah Roemer) - Kale's new and much coveted beautiful next door neighbour. Both Ronnie and Kale then proceed to spy on their neighbours using all the numerous technologies one can harness in today's modern home. Things crank up a notch and the audience is slowly introduced to those that surround Kale: there's the young brats also next door, responsible for menacing poor Kale whilst being at his most vulnerable; also the mysterious lawn-mowing obsessive Mr. Turner (David Morse) whose suspicious behaviour leads the kids on an internet goose-hunt when the similarities between Mr. Turner's description and car match those of a recent spate of disappearances in another state. Ashley soon joins the boys in a stake-out and it isn't long before humour plays a key role in getting us to like them before the thrill ride begins.

And begin it does, blended so smoothly and efficiently through I had almost forgotten it was coming. Hackles were raised in the audience , this was obvious. Director D.J Curuso (Taking Lives,
TheSalton Sea), shows he obviously has a knack for film of the darker persuasion. Yes, another crowd might bemoan the end of an era and like to see it made a little more stylishly , but (in my opinion), that nostalgia period might well be over. A yearning for the 'olden days' does not put some critics on a pedestal and give them any leverage of 'higher thought.'

Of course with any film like this there are corny trappings and the modern thriller aficionado might find themselves grimacing at tid-bits that could obviously have been executed differently and to greater effect. However, push all these small things aside; Disturbia is indeed a creepy and compelling film.

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