Posted October 8, 2007 in Film

Suburban teen Kale Brecht’s (Shia LaBeouf) summer of house arrest is supposed to be safer than juvie. At first, his gorgefest of peanut butter, Twinkies and trash TV is no more perilous than an upset stomach. But when a restless Kale starts spying on the neighbors, he convinces himself, dude-bro Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and a cool blonde newly relocated from The City (Sarah Roemer), that the baby-faced bachelor next door (David Morse) is a serial killer. D.J. Caruso’s surprisingly good suspense flick yearns to be Rear Window for the YouTube generation—and Hitchcock’s classic updates well. Christopher B. Landon and Carl Ellsworth’s script makes sharp use of cell phones, digital cameras, and the post 9/11 privacy debate as, like Bush, Kale’s got an aggressive stance on the Patriot Act and doesn’t mind sending his friends to do the dangerous work. (“In a world of paranoia, don’t stoke the fire,” warns the could-be murderer.) Except for some silly thunderclaps and a dashed-off finale, Caruso’s thriller is smart and grounded, thanks in part to LaBeouf, who has the unformed features of a kid who wants to be tough, but can’t resist sniffing his crush’s hair. (Amy Nicholson)


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