Disturbia isn’t a particularly bad film, but it just never quite takes off.
The story starts out with some promising suspense, but then lulls you to sleep with one headfake after another. Part of the problem is the producers & screen writers didn’t know the film’s identity – something that should have been decided before any sets were constructed.
The 1st 2 acts are slow movers intended to build plot, while the final 1/3 of the film is a pure slasher flick. Given how boring it is to watch Shia LeBeouf horse around with his binoculars on house arrest, I imagine the studio execs would have just made this a horror movie if they had to do it over again.
LeBeouf’s character seems almost exactly like the kid he played in the fantastic 1st Transformers film – a hyper, funny, nervous teen with raging hormones. Unfortunately his character spends so much time being a brat & oogling girls that it’s hard to really cheer for this little voyeur. During the 1st hour we get a steady diet of LeBeuof drooling over little-known actress Sarah Roemer from afar, as if she’s Megan Fox strutting by Bumblebee in her breakout film.
The best thing about Disturbia is the villainous performance of David Morse, who you may remember as George Washington in the 2006 HBO miniseries John Adams. Morse is the right mix of reputable neighbor/potential creeper in Disturbia, & even proves he can be quite the action star when given a chance. If this movie had a much faster pace or became a horror flick, Morse would probably even gain greater respect. Unfortunately it has a rather sloppy ending that leaves you understanding the basics of the action’s aftermath, but yearning for some clarifying details you never get (I’d say more but I don’t want to ruin the plot).
This movie reminded me of a much better film with a bipolar plot, 2005′s The Island starring Ewan McGregor & Scarlett Johansson. The Island lures you in with suspense in a controlled environment for the 1st half of the film, then all of sudden it’s a frenetic action blockbuster the rest of the way. Oddly enough, in that film it works! Disturbia‘s surprise morph from thriller to slasher doesn’t.
Verdict: 2 stars
Here’s a brief recap of how The Floor Seats’ 0-4 star rating system breaks down:
0-1 stars: This is an atrocious movie; an insult to film & a waste of your time
1-2 stars: Bad but not awful – avoid unless you’re dying to see it for a particular genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
2.5 stars: Only worth a rental if you really like that genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
3 stars: Definitely worth a rental unless you hate that type of genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
3.5 stars: Very good but not great – this is a film you should definitely rent & even consider buying if you like that genre/subject matter/actor’s performance
4 stars: Outstanding & unforgettable – almost certainly 1 of the top 100 greatest films you’ve ever seen. Buy with confidence!