"Peeping Tom Or Neighborhood Watchdog?"
DISTURBIA stars Shia LaBeouf as Kale, a young teen who, while under house arrest, becomes a peeping tom on all of his neighbors. His newfound obsession, however, turns deadly when he finds that one of his neighbors may well indeed be a vicious serial killer.
After his father is killed in a violent car accident, Kale does not know how to cope emotionally. His outbursts of anger include punching out his high school Spanish teacher. He is soon sentenced to three months house arrest. Once his mother eliminates his subscription to X-Box Live and iTunes, Kale finds himself getting a little stir-crazy, and he resorts to binoculars to find entertainment. Intrigued by his own “Reality TV without the TV,” Kale soon learns all of his neighbors’ dirty little secrets.
During his “stakeouts,” Kale comes to believe that his next-door neighbor may well indeed be a violent serial killer wanted by the police. Kale’s interest turns into an obsession. His obsession soon turns into a deadly game, a game that neither Kale, his mother, nor his friends may survive.
DISTURBIA is a well-made thriller with some exciting, albeit clichéd, moments of tension and suspense. Shia LaBeouf is a relatively new, talented young actor who gives a solid performance here. The story moves at a relatively good pace, but the plot of a next-door neighbor/serial killer is a worn-out story device that has been overused time and time again, and this movie really does nothing much to freshen up that plotline.
The movie is set in a relatively moral worldview, in that evil actions are punished with elements of heroism. However, the movie contains some cautionary elements, which include that Kale’s newfound entertainment involves invading people’s privacy through the lenses of his binoculars. It also involves some teenage sensuality as he watches the pretty young woman next door. These elements, coupled with some underage partying, a scene of young pre-teen boys watching pornography, relatively strong foul language, and strong violence earn DISTURBIA an extreme caution from MOVIEGUIDE®.
(B, Pa, H, Ro, LL, VV, S, N, A, MM) Mostly moral worldview in which evil is punished and good triumphs, with some immoral pagan behavior from characters whose actions are not glorified, mixed with elements of humanism and Romanticism that extol man and emotions with no discussion of God or biblical elements as being the basis for the movie’s morality; at least 42 obscenities (including a few “f” words, though some mumbled and barely understandable), one strong profanity, 13 light profanities, obscene gesture, and young pre-teenage boys play prank with a flaming bag of feces on teen’s front porch which he stomps out and gets feces all over his shoes and porch; some strong violence includes a very intense car crash in the opening in which a man is killed, boy plays war-based video game, student punches and knocks out his teacher (for which he is sentenced to house arrest), some pictures of dead bodies are shown on computer screen, man accosts a woman as teenagers watch through binoculars, man bashes woman’s head into a wall, man hits teenage boy with a baseball bat, man breaks the neck of a police officer, teen and man wrestle and fight, several violent sequences throughout the climax, multiple dead bodies are found, and character stabbed with gardening scissors; sexual content includes teenager under house arrest watches people through his window in which he sees adulterous kissing with implied fornication, as well as watching the girl next door as she swims in the pool, changes in her room, etc., boy’s ring tone on his cell phone is set with music that has sexual lyrics, teenage girl discusses her father’s infidelity, young pre-teenage boys are seen in their bedroom watching pornography (although woman on screen is strategically covered), a woman dances seductively for a man, and scenes of teenage kissing on bed and sofa but interrupted; naturalistic upper rear female nudity as girl changes in her room, as she swims in her pool in a bikini, and as she does yoga in a sportsbra, women in bikinis on television commercial, and female cleavage shown as young pre-teenage boys watch pornography on television; some light alcohol use includes wine consumption and what could be implied as underage drinking at teen party while parents are out of town (although it is unclear what the teenagers are drinking); no smoking or drug use; and, miscellaneous elements of immorality as young man under house arrest violates people’s privacy as a peeping tom, but the moral tone of the movie punishes those who have broken the law and rewards good.
DISTURBIA stars Shia LaBeouf as Kale, a teenager who does not know how to cope emotionally with his father’s sudden death in an accident. His outbursts of anger include punching out his high school Spanish teacher, and he is placed under house arrest. Stuck at home, Kale becomes bored and starts spying on his neighbors. During his “stakeouts,” Kale comes to believe that his next-door neighbor may be a violent serial killer wanted by the police. Kale’s interest turns into an obsession. His obsession soon turns into a deadly game, a game that neither Kale, his mother, nor his friends may survive.
DISTURBIA is a well-made thriller with some exciting, but clichéd, moments of tension and suspense. Shia LaBeouf is a relatively new, talented young actor who gives a solid performance, but the plot of a next-door neighbor/serial killer is a worn-out, overused story device. Also, the movie contains some problematic material. Although evil is punished and good triumphs, there is lots of foul language, some teenage sensuality, underage partying, as well as the fact that the protagonist’s newfound entertainment involves becoming a peeping tom. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.