Sunday, October 05, 2008


(2007) ***

High school kid Kale (Shia LeBoef) gets sentenced to house arrest and starts keeping track of all his neighbors via binoculars and video surveillance. This includes a young hottie who just moved in next door, and a strange guy who Shia thinks might be some sort of serial killer. Eventually, the kid meets (and gets) the girl, and all sorts of hijinks ensue when they (and his hip, wise-cracking Asian friend) get more involved in checking out spooky serial killer neighbor.

If this sounds lame, it's really not that bad. Better than I was expecting, actually. The villian is David Morse, who you'll recognize from a dozen minor roles (most recently he plays GW in HBO's John Adams), and he's quite good and menacing. And Shia is very strong here (I wasn't crazy about him in Indy 4), which is key since this is very much his movie to carry.

The only real weak spot is the neighbor love interest babe, who just seemed vanilla to me. And the budding teen romance/relationship scenes were the most dull and unconvincing of the movie.

One of the interesting aspects of this movie to me, is that it clearly wants to be kind of an anthropology doc about teen life right now. It spends a lot of time setting up Kale's world of Xbox Live, iTunes, and trash tv, but since he has to feel isolated and bored if the neighborhood surveillance plot is to make any sense, they have his mom cancel his Xbox Live and iTunes accounts. There's even a scene of him sitting staring at his cell phone, just hoping for someone to call. Right. For a movie about teen life made in 2007 to ignore the primacy of Facebook, not to mention IM, in teen lives is a huge stretch.

Still, that's a small gripe, and this is overall a good-not-great little suspense thriller.


JPX said...

Spielberg is being sued for plagiarizing Rear Window. I As you note, this was more fun than it had a right to be and it introduced me to Shia. Good review.

When I spy on my neighbor all I see is him tearing up his backyard to put in a septic tank.

DCD said...

I caught most of this one night and I agree with your review, LS. Pretty good - not amazing.

Whirlygirl said...

Someone left this DVD at my house like a year ago, so since it's here I've been meaning to watch it but never seem to get around to it. Maybe for this Horrorthon.

miko564 said...

Shark, the weird thing about Morse is, if you remember St Elsewhere, he was the nerdy guy...ever since he has either played the menacing bad guy or good cop in everything I've seen him in.

I may have to check this out as well, I think it's playing on Cinemax this month.

Octopunk said...

I really like David Morse because of his stint on St. Elsewhere.

I used to hate Shia Labeouf but then abandoned it when I realized it would just cause me pain to see him everywhere.

And why the hell is he everywhere? I mean, he acts pretty good, but he's been jet-propelled into superstardom for reasons I cannot figure.

Sale of soul?