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DISTURBIA (2007)

Directed by D.J. Caruso

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Davis Morse and Sarah Roemer

Helmed by "Shield" and "Smallville" director D.J. Caruso, "Disturbia" is a teen take on Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and was a huge hit among teenagers in 2007. But it's so formulaic, edgeless and predictable that anyone over 20 is going to yawn at the motions it goes through. Young star Shia LaBeouf does put in a good performance, one that probably helped score him a role in the fourth Indiana Jones film released a year later.

LaBeouf plays a depressed teen who was driving a car during a fatal accident that took the life of his father. The accident opens the movie and is arguably the best the scene in the film.

Upon his return home, he assaults a teacher during a confrontation in class and is sentenced to three months' home arrest. Naturally, the ankle bracelet he wears is intended to replace the cast worn by Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window." He quickly starts peeping on his neighbors, one of whom conveniently hangs out on her roof (Roemer) and is a young woman he starts having a romance with. Another neighbor is a suspected killer. He starts enrolling his friend and his girlfriend in on his obsession with his neighbor, and they start spying too. Same exact thing happened in Hitchcock's classic.

I'm not a huge fan of movies with loud pop music and too many references to the Internet or cell phones, but it appears to pay off with box office, because this film was a huge hit. There are too many references to YouTube and "Internet" in this movie. The teens also don't feel real. A party takes place without alcohol, we meet a troubled teen without a bong. These teens even lack the edginess of the drug-free horror junkies of "Scream."

As for the by-the-numbers Hitchcock imitation, it works for the most part, with LaBeouf getting humiliated much more than Stewart's character did in "Window." The fact that the alleged killer (Morse) in this is a serial murder gives the film an opportunity to deliver an ending with standard horror-movie cliché's during its very last act.

All in all, a decent PG-13 film that rings a bit hollow. A big box office triumph, it naturally will inspire more kid-oriented fear films in the coming years.

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