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After his father is killed in a car accident, things unravel for Kale Brecht and he is placed under house-arrest for punching his Spanish teacher. Having nothing better to do, Kale occupies himself by spying on his neighbors. But one night, he witnesses what appears to be a murder going on in Mr. Turner's house. Kale becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind these murders but, after a few unsettling run-ins with Mr. Turner, it becomes a matter of life and death. And the ominous question: Who is watching whom?Written by
Disturbia was filmed on location in the cities of Whittier, California and Pasadena, California. The homes of Kale and Mr. Turner, which were supposed to be next door to each other, were actually located in two different cities. See more »
Right before Kale goes to rescue his mother at Turner's house, he tells Ashley to wait for the police. Yet, she doesn't appear when Officer Gutierrez arrives, thus doesn't warn him about Turner. See more »
Do you think he sees us?
No, he can't see us. But trust me, he can feel us watching.
See more »
I first saw Disturbia during its initial theatrical release in 2007. I was 18 at the time Disturbia came out, so D.J. Caruso's thriller rife with subplots including the anguish of coming-of-age and teen romance meant that I was part of the target audience. I enjoyed Disturbia a great deal in the theatre and bought the DVD soon after as one of the last Hollywood Video rental stores closed in my area. After not seeing Disturbia for a few years, I was nervous to revisit it, for fear that it would be one of those films I enjoyed once because it fit a particular time in my life that I wouldn't get much out of after more maturation. I can pleasantly affirm my love for Disturbia is just as strong today as it was when I sat in the theatre the first time I saw it. I suppose it makes sense that I enjoyed it, I'm a massive fan of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. In 2010, the copyright holder of the Cornell Woolrich story that Rear Window was based off of, sued producer Steven Spielberg and his film studio DreamWorks for infringement. The lawsuit was dismissed, as the courts rightly recognized that there is much more to Disturbia than simply a Rear Window rip-off. Though the same voyeuristic protagonist and a mystery exist in both, the existence of one far from hampers the other.
After a summer fishing trip ends with 17-year-old Kale Brecht (Shia LaBeouf) behind the wheel of the vehicle transporting he and his father back home when it crashes killing his father, he feels responsible for his death. Kale's entire demeanor changes after his father's death, understandably so. His violent outbursts and increased aggression have led him to a few run-ins with the law. Just before school lets out for summer, Kale is sleeping through his final classes when he is called upon by his Spanish teacher to dictate his summer plans. Unable to do so, the Spanish teacher becomes upset and implores Kale to assess what his father would think of the situation. Triggered by the implied disappointment his father would feel towards him, Kale unleashes his anger and punches his teacher. Given a lenient sentence of 3-months house arrest, Kale is stuck with his internet and video game subscription canceled, left with nothing to do but gaze at his neighborhood through his window. "Reality without the tv", as Kale calls it, is made all the more interesting when a beautiful young girl moves in next door. Determined to get to know her despite his spatial challenges, Kale charms the young girl enough that she begins to spend afternoons with him, giving him a welcome break from his only other visitor, his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo). Kale soon understands that his new neighbor Ashley (Sarah Roemer) has a depth and sense of mystery to her that he has not encountered with any of the girls at his school, making Ashley the perfect partner to investigate his standoffish and private neighbor, Mr. Turner (David Morse). Turner seems to fit the bill of a suspect police have been hunting believed to have killed multiple women. With little else to do but watch the comings and goings of his neighbors all day, Kale appoints himself as the prime investigator tasked to figure out if his neighbor is a cold-blooded killer.
One thing I truly appreciate is when a director shows rather than tells his audience certain aspects of the plot. D.J. Caruso makes a brilliant directorial choice when he shows us the look on Kale's face as he makes his way to his father's side of the vehicle at the opening of the film. Seeing the shock and pain on Kale's face provides much more impact than the makeup and effects required to show a mangled body. The opening moments showing the fishing trip and its aftermath acted as a wonderful introduction to Kale and his personality before his loss and provided wonderful insight to Kale and his father's relationship. Each introduction to the nuances of the neighbors Kale sees from his room was exceptional, and just as uniquely descriptive as the ones in Rear WIndow which the scene brings to mind. The pacing and scares of the thriller side of the film were masterful adeptly creating the mood of intrigue. Shia LaBeouf has one of those yells that turns into a blood-curdling scream a bit too quickly for my liking, and his room was so large it was difficult to believe he couldn't find some new hobby to keep himself busy for the summer, but those complaints do little to detract from my enjoyment of the film. A tightly paced teen drama/mystery/thriller, Disturbia is compelling and a film that always provides a compelling ride with each revisit.
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