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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality

Reviewed by: Chris Sosa

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 13, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, DreamWorks
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Copyright, DreamWorks
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Relevant Issues
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How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Featuring: Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Sarah Roemer
Director: D.J. Caruso—“I Am Number Four” (2011), “Eagle Eye” (2008)
Producer: Joe Medjuck, E. Bennett Walsh, Jackie Marcus
Distributor: DreamWorks

“Every killer lives next door to someone.”

“Disturbia” is a new spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Rear Window.” As an aspiring film director, it pains me to say that I have never actually viewed Rear Window in its entirety and will therefore not be comparing the two. In this adaptation, a young man named Kale (Shia LaBeouf) is sentenced to three months of house arrest as punishment for physically assaulting his Spanish teacher who publicly humiliated him, even going as far as bringing up Kale’s recently deceased dad. In the time following his arrest, Kale begins to watch his many neighbors as a pastime to combat his constant boredom. After all, his mom has become a bit strict, cutting off his iTunes account, his TV, and his Xbox live connection. (This movie shamelessly plugs products through-out, and that fact will endlessly annoy film purists.)

When watching one particular neighbor, Kale begins to notice that his daily routine seems to be a bit erratic, as his neighbor sneaks in late at night and oftentimes mysteriously disappears in the day. When similarities begin to surface between the neighbor and the attributes of the killer on the nightly news, Kale knows that he has to prove his neighbor’s guilt or risk other innocent lives being taken.

In terms of content, it is important to note that this film was originally rated R “for violence and terror” and was successfully appealed and re-rated by the MPAA appeals board. So bearing that in mind, this movie is violent. And while the violence is contained only in certain scenes, the impact is a bit heavier than the rating indicates. Scenes of near slasher-movie violence are present, including stabbing, neck snapping, decomposing bodies, and other various violent acts. Also a fist-fight is present, and violence toward animals includes Kale fishing with his father and the apparent demise of the mysterious neighbor’s foliage destroying rabbit.

Sexual content is a bit surprising, as the rating only mentions “sensuality.” One will be surprised to see multiple shots of a porn film, showing a topless woman. While certain very minute details are not present in the shot due to circumstances that I will not repeat here for fear of offending readers, the over-all impact of the scenes is enough that it will only make a difference in the eyes of the ratings board. In addition to those scenes, there is a scene in which Kale is shown in the bathroom scratching his leg because of the chaffing from the police device, but is insinuated to be doing something else before the audience sees the entire shot. Also present are numerous scenes of barely clad female bodies, as Kale voyeuristically gazes at the neighbors with his binoculars.

Language, while not mentioned in the rating, is somewhat frequent. Paling in comparison to many current films, “Disturbia” does still contain numerous uses of mild and moderate language, and heavy language is insinuated on multiple occasions. While heavy language was possibly uttered on one or more occasions, it was a bit difficult to tell considering that in most scenes the speaker was cut-off before finishing the word.

From a Christian point of view, this film offered some moments of positive moral content. Kale’s willingness to risk his life for others was very admirable, as “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (TNIV). Themes of friendship and courage are present pervasively throughout the movie. However, the final act takes a disappointing turn, which is all I will say so as not to give anything away to those planning on viewing the movie.

In closing, “Disturbia” was an enjoyable film. The pacing was relaxed, a nice change from many recent movies that feel overly rushed in an attempt to keep the audience’s attention. It’s nice to see a movie that still remembers how to tell a story. The script was also well-written for the most part, avoiding too many boring cliches. No qualms could be made with either the directing or cinematography of the film either, as both were extremely well done for a teen-oriented film. Also impressive was Shia LeBeouf’s portrayal of Kale. For those that remember him as that annoying little kid in “Even Stevens,” they’ll be shocked to his engaging part in this film. After all, in a movie such as “Disturbia”, taking place in mainly one location with few characters, the film succeeds or fails based on its leading character, and thankfully this film succeeds. In the end, “Disturbia” was a pretty good piece of escapist entertainment, nevertheless I’ll still be at home imagining my re-write of the ending.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—My husband and I saw this film. We love suspense movies, but it is difficult to find suspense movies that are not overly gory or violent. In this respect, we approved of “Disturbia.” It shows dead bodies and people being killed, but not in a “Gladiator” type of way. It added to the suspense of the movie for us without leaving us with gross images in our minds. The part we did not appreciate was when the boy spies on his teenage girl neighbor.

There were some “eye-closing” parts as she walks around in her bikini and changes her clothes. We felt that these were easy things to dismiss and just look away from for a minute. I would not recommend it for children, who tend to have less self-control. Overall, we enjoyed the movie and will probably rent it when it comes out.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—sara, age 23
Positive—Well, I won’t give as harsh a review as some folks might. “Disturbia” was entertaining! I went with my friend Sarah, and we both had a jolly, good ol' time. I may be ruining the cinematic experience for some by saying “Disturbia” at its heart is a serial killer flick. Come on! The previews don’t lie!!! Don’t be fooled by the tagline that LaBeouf’s character might be simply imagining things, the result of a restless mind and house arrest. No, he doesn’t have cabin fever, and you’re wrong to think the filmmakers would create a 2 hour flick about a possible serial killer living next door, only to have it turn out to be a complete joke. No ladies and gents, this movie is about revealing David Morse’s character and his sick obsessions. I liked it. There were certain elements of Silence of the Lambs and even the Cell that I picked up on—whether they were intentionally put there or not, I observed them and I liked them. Add to that, “Disturbia” is funny, engaging, and surprising. That’s right. Surprising. Two thumbs up folks. Go see it.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Jacob Keenum, age 20
Positive—I really liked “Disturbia.” I am a fan of Shia LaBeouf and enjoyed the cast of newcomers (Sarah Roemer, Aaron Yoo) and although Carrie-Anne Moss didn’t have much to do, she was still good. David Morse was excellent as the villain. You even forget that he’s David Morse. The film is thrilling, exciting, funny, and involving.

But in terms of the PG-13 rating, this film pushes the boundaries a little bit in the Violence area. The opening scene is violent and shocking yet I thought it was executed extremely well. It was such a great opening scene but it was very dramatic and it showed that the filmmakers are NOT messing around. This isn’t your normal wimpy, cheesy PG-13 teeny-bopper horror flick like “When a Stranger Calls” or “Boogeyman” or “The Grudge.” This is the real deal. The climax is also pretty violent for a PG-13, as we see rotting corpses up close, several characters are brutally beat by getting slammed into a wall or getting an aluminum baseball bat to the head. Another character is impaled and pushed into a pool of water.

In terms of sexual content, I think this is how “Rear Window” would’ve looked in 2007. Like Jimmy Stewart in RW, Kale sees women in various states of undress and the camera lingers on them for a good amount of time, especially his next door neighbor, Ashley. But that’s overlookable (seriously, I looked away on some of the scenes). No sex in the film either!

In terms of language, this film was a bit lighter than you’d think. No G-Damns AT ALL. No f-words. Barely any other language. The only curse word I heard was the “s” word used about 11 or so times. But it was actually used hilariously in one scene when the immature kids next door attack Kale while he’s under house arrest. It’s only used when in panic. [***MILD SPOILERS AHEAD***] Kale also sees those same kids watch porn in their room, where we see a girl covering her bare breasts (from a far view). But in the end, Kale gets the lusty kids back by letting their mom know about the porn and her catching them [***SPOILERS END***]

Anyway, the film is incredibly fun, thoroughly entertaining, thrilling, hilarious, and just pure greatness. All the actors and director do incredibly well. It is the best PG-13 horror film I have seen in quite a while. You’re not getting a cheesy weak plain script here, my friends. This film is worth 10 bucks. For mature christian teens and adults only, though. Young immature may cause them to lust. This could only be seen by teenagers and young adults that can actually control themselves. It is creative and thoroughly entertaining and funny and thrilling. Really.

Note: Don’t see the film before 10pm. Seriously. In my theater, there were a LOT of immature 15 year-olds running around and screaming really loud and stuff. I enjoyed the movie but this has to stop. I learned from another viewer to only go after 10pm because the kids aren’t out at that time. A quieter more mature theater audience will add to the enjoyment and effect of the film.

This film is a whole lotta fun. Shia LaBeouf is an awesome leading man and has great taste in choosing films (his upcoming “Surf’s Up” and “Transformers” are more proof. They look great). The rest of the cast and the movie is awesome. Take a visit to “Disturbia.”
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Derek, age 25
Positive—it was really scary without being too raunchy. there was no sex or nudity—only some kissing scenes. It proved that a scary movie can be extremely scary without being too gory or sexy. It is filled with suspense, and I have to admit I screamed out loud in the theatre!
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Grace, age 72
Neutral—This movie was for the age group of 10 to 14. It was entertaining, but the theater was full of pre-teen to about 14 year old teenagers. They screamed at every little bitty thing and truly were having a great time. I nearly fell asleep several times during the movie. The last 10 minutes or so was where any PG-13 rating might have occurred. The ticket seller told us there was a mistake in the movie, but that it was done on purpose… the microphone flashing at the top of the screen a couple of times. I had no idea it was for such a young group of people. But, the young people sure did love it.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—DonnaM, age 51
Neutral—Shia Lebouf is actually a very good actor. Going from “Even Stevens” to this movie was quite a leap! The movie keeps your attention, and if you want to see a “thriller,” this is a good one. HOWEVER, this movie had A LOT of sexual things in it!!! There were MANY shots of the a girl in a bikini (and they were close-ups!) Also, there was pretty much complete nudity—2 or more quick shots of pornographic material. My husband and I watched this movie together, and he was looking away for half of the movie. I feel like the rating of PG-13 for “some sensuality” was really ridiculous! I would rate the sexuality in this movie (for a PG-13 film) 'HEAVY.'
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Amanda, age 23
Negative—Do not go see this movie! For one hour and 15 minutes the entire movie is based on him lusting after his neighbor, there are several parts where porno movies appear, and all the men in the movie oogle after the women and the women are degraded. The only suspense was at the very end and by that time I was bored and restless.

I could not take the ending seriously because the entire movie was about this boy’s crush on this girl and I forgot the movie was an actual thriller!!! From a Biblical perspective, men are to respect young women but in this movie all they do is oogle and lust after them. The women are to dress modestly but you do not see that in this movie. This movie was a waste of my money and time and I cannot believe the number of positive reviews for this movie. Trust me: Do not waste your time seeing this movie!!!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Chrissy, age 22
Negative—I was unaware of what to expect because when I checked listings for movies I looked and saw this was a PG-13 thriller. I don’t like horror, but I like a good mystery so I thought it might be okay. I was wrong! The beginning was sweet but then a brutal death occurs and it was devastating and difficult to watch. I was disappointed in the way the teacher talked with the student without any care or compassion about what he had been through. There were several examples of inappropriate language, porn tv shows being watched by young elementary aged boys, a teen girl undressing, and wearing skimpy bathing suits while the camera scans her bottom slowly and other areas of her body, and many moments of peeping at neighbors. Towards the end there’s brutal violence, and scenes with dead bodies and body parts along with an online picture of a dead corpse. I was sick to my stomach, even though I didn’t watch much of the offensive scenes I wish I had walked out! I’m at fault for not doing my homework, but even on the way out I felt very offended as I watched several teens walking out laughing, saying how funny this film was. There was nothing funny about it, and I seriously don’t understand how that was supposedly appropriate for my 13 year old son to watch. I don’t think so. We just went through a decade of deciding no more rated “R” movies for our family, and now I am seriously considering up-ing our cut-off to no PG-13 movies. Films are getting more and more offensive and I don’t find brutal violence, porn, or sexual content to be any part entertaining. The bulk of the story was good, but then it took a dive and left me feeling extremely uncomfortable.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3½
—Trish Springthorpe, age 40
Negative—This movie was so offensive to me, I can’t believe I watched this. It was so scary I had to leave a couple of times and pretend to get candy at the concessions stands. I don’t recommend this to anyone because it was offensive in every way to me with the language and dead corpses shown. I got sick and almost started to cry from the emotional weight. After the movie I thanked God it was over and prayed about it. I recommend other movies such as “Emily Rose,” “When a Stranger Calls,” and “Red Eye” because of the strong morals.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—mike, age 18
Negative—The suspense at times was good. The cast did well, but has potential to make such a better movie. Now that I’ve said all the good stuff about the movie… It’s too bad most of this movie involved lust, and was quite a bit more graphic than it needed to be in that area. The extra sexual images lingering on the screen added nothing to the film. Later in the movie the images were gross just for the shock effect, and they were over the top and added nothing. We won’t be letting our 15 year old daughter to watch this, due to the sexual tone between the teens in the movie. For parents of boys, this film will give them a lesson on voyeurism, and tries to make you laugh about it. There were plenty of times when we looked away from the screen because we were simply not interested in the sexual stuff being shown.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
—Scott and Cinda, age 35
Neutral—I thought this movie was dragged out. Very boring until the end. I really can’t see anyone over the age of 25 enjoying this movie. It’s more of a teenage horror movie. Language wasn’t bad, not too gory, pretty mild as far as thrillers go.
My Ratings: Average / 2
—Helen, age 36
Comments from young people
Positive—I saw this movie on opening day and I thought it was amazing. It was not a very gory movie like “Saw” or “Dead Silence,” which is good because I’m not a big fan of them. I recommend everyone to see this (mature 11 year old and up) it was really a great movie with many scares.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Craig, age 16
Positive—I went and saw Disturbia with my friend on opening night and let me tell you this was an awesome movie… very suspenseful and had the ending that everyone wanted… it did not leave me disappointed at all. The only word they used was s***. Ashley and Kale (the main characters) made out a couple of times, but that’s about it. The only other objectionable part were some little boys trying to watch some porn/adult channel that eventually becomes blocked later on. Overall, this was a very good movie and it kept me on the edge of my seat. (it did make me jump a couple times, too…
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Heather Usher, age 17
Positive—I love this movie so much. It is kind of a suspense mixed with scary movie. Great actors!!! It had tons of drama. It kind of starts off slow in the beginning, but it picks up really fast. I don’t think it would be appropriate for anyone under 13 years old. Well, if you can definitely see this movie. It is filled with some scary scenes, and it has a little sexual content, but not thing too bad.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Cheyenne, age 14
Positive—Me and 3 of my friends went to see this movie, having no idea what to expect, and we were all quite pleased as to where our money went. We are all avid horror and suspense fans, and quite enjoyed this movie. Though there is language, and violence, and some sexual content in this movie, it was still very good. I recommend this movie to anyone of an older age who enjoys thriller type movies.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Colton, age 16
Positive—I just went to see this movie in the theater with my dad on opening weekend. That’s usually how we spend our bonding time, going to movies. Contrary to what a lot of people on here are saying, I wasn’t at all offended by a young woman wearing a bikini. I don’t wear them, but that’s what a lot of people do. And I wasn’t that offended by the violence. By the end of the movie, I was wanting the “villain” to get it.

Better than average for a teen-oriented thriller. Thought the acting was believable. Scene with the dead bodies was a little gross. Wouldn’t recommend this for kids 11-12 or under. Depending on a child’s maturity, I think anything above those ages would be appropriate. If anything, I really enjoyed the bonding time. But I thought it was a very good movie. Sometimes think these reviews are a little over-the-top, but I guess it’s all about different views. I became a Christian when I was 6 and have been raised in a good Christian environment since I was born since both my parents are Christians as well, but I wasn’t offended by this movie.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—“Nicole,” age 16
Positive—I saw this movie with a girl friend of mine and we both thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was a very good suspense movie, and I really liked how they modernized the old Hitchcock classic “Rear Window.” the graphics were very believable. There were moments where curse words are said, however, it was not extremely offensive to me. Younger children should not be allowed to view this due to the extremely frightening moment. The acting was very good, and, to me, very believable. I will definitely buy this movie once it comes out on DVD!
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Shannon T., age 17
Positive—This movie was extremely entertaining! The acting was great. I had a problem with some sexual content and bad language. I loved the suspense, and the violence wasn’t that bad. The biggest problem I had was the group of 16 year olds screaming offensive comments in the theater. I think the age group would be about thirteen and up. Overall, it was a great movie. I definitely recommend it.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Katie, age 12
Positive—I went to see this movie with three of my other friends, and it was great. I’m going to see it again. It was very suspenseful, and had only enough violence to add to the element of that. However, I would stick to the PG-13 rating guide. Possibly very mature 11-12 year olds could see it, but if not then you should wait until 13-14. The movie is directed towards a teen audience, and the porn/violence/slasher-ish factors could scare [or provoke lustful thoughts] in immature kids. The profanity is not too bad, although I seem to recall one f-word. Mostly, the cursing is not noticed too much because it is used [mostly] in edge-of-your-seat moments! In all, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone, although people under 11 should not see it.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Alexia, age 14
Positive—I saw this movie the other day with my dad hoping I would be scared out of my mind. It definitely wasn’t as scary as it looked in the commercials. The whole movie was all about a teenager on house arrest (Shia LaBeouf), who killed time by starring at his neighbors. While he stares at his neighbors, it shows the offensive things they are doing, cheating on spouses, kids watching adult movies, a girl undressing with windows open, and eventually murder. The acting was great, and so was a the “graphic stuff.” It got scary near the end, and was a really good thriller, then. This was a lot of kissing with the teenage boy and his neighbor, but that’s all average with a PG-13 movie these days. By the way, the first 10 minutes is really good.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Rachael Smith, age 14
Positive—I loved “Disturbia”!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Brina, age 13
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. The suspence was perfectly played out, it escalades the moment you see the blood splatter on the window. Me and my friend watched this movie at about twelve o' clock at night. I wasn’t scared because I have viewed movies such as The Shining and Freddy vs. Jason. But my friend was scared. the movie did an effective job of making you care for the characters. My friend was so scared he made me play Halo 2 with him till he fell asleep (wich ended up being 5 hours). Overall, great movie. …
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—Josh Sullivan, age 13
Positive—“Disturbia” is quite simply one of the best thrillers I have ever seen. The acting is good, the characters are well done, the story is decent, and it does a good job of keeping you tense. A bit of language (no f-word) and violence (dead bodies and some blood, but by no means gratuitous). The sexual content can be classified as “average.” Ashley is seen in a sports bra and bikini a few times, and Kale enjoys spying on her during these times. The “pornography” was nothing more than seeing (from very far away) some hands covering bare breasts and young kids watch.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Steve, age 15