Disturbia

No sense kicking this thriller for plot holes and lapses in logic when the action, suspense and flirty sex come at such a lively clip. Shia LaBeouf, a gifted young actor still in search of that breakthrough role, is a winning combo of smart and smartass as Kale, a suburban teen under house arrest for having clocked his Spanish teacher. The dude was way too condescending about the trauma Kale suffered a year ago when his dad died.

Housebound Kale is bristling from the first day of his three-month confinement. In Hitchcock's Rear Window, a broken leg kept Jimmy Stewart's character at home in New York, ing at his neighbors through a telescope. Disturbia is not in the same league as that 1954 classic. But co-writer Carl Ellsworth, who scripted the nifty jet-bound thriller Red Eye, deftly updates the plot, and director D.J. Caruso (The Salton Sea) milks claustrophobia and voyeurism for maximum tension. The bracelet on Kale's ankle will bring the cops the minute he steps outside his yard, and his mom (Carrie-Anne Moss) fears he's headed for deep trouble.

Of course he is, otherwise there'd be no movie. LaBeouf excels, as does Aaron Yoo as his horny friend and Sarah Roemer as the bikini babe who conveniently decorates the pool next door. But Kale's focus, and ours, is on the neighbor who just might be chopping up the ladies he brings home to play. The ever-superb David Morse plays him with seductive charm and cunning. And one scene, involving cell phones and a digicam, is a nail-biter for the YouTube crowd. Cool stuff. Cool movie.

From The Archives Issue 117: September 14, 1972
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