Director: D.J. Caruso
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 14th September 2007
Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 14th June 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is one of those films that I really didn’t know too much about before hitting the ‘Play’ button. I had a vague idea from the write-up, but didn’t expect what turned up on the screen. What I got was effectively an updated version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). It did have some good aspects to it, but over all I found it quite disappointing. I will explain why after this brief summary.
Kale, a high school teenager has had a hard time of it since his father died a year ago. It all comes to a head one day when he punches his Spanish teacher in class. He is sentenced to three months’ house arrest. He has to wear an ankle bracelet and if he wanders too far from the house an alert is sent to the police and they will respond immediately. Finding himself home alone most of the time, Kale gets bored and begins to watch the comings and goings of his neighbours. A new family moves in next door and he immediately takes an interest in the daughter, Ashley. His friend Ronnie comes around and they hang out together. They hear a report of a serial killer who may be in the area and Kale’s suspicions turn to another of his neighbours, Mr. Turner. He fits the bill perfectly, but how to prove it? Ashley and Ronnie help him, but Turner is getting suspicious and has taken an interest in Kale’s mother, Julie. Is Mr. Turner really a serial killer, if so, can they prove it before Kale’s mom becomes the next victim? No clues here, this bracelet around my ankle will go off.
I thought the plot was ok, but I guess I’m not really the target audience as the focus is very much on the younger members of the cast. Unfortunately Shia LaBeouf was in the leading role of Kale. He really has zero charisma and has very little screen presence (IMO); consequently, I found this one a little hard to watch. Sarah Roemer played Ashley, she did a decent enough job, but appeared to be there mostly as eye-candy. Carrie-Anne Moss played Julie and I was surprised to see her in such a small part… she deserves better (IMO). For me, the star turn was David Morse as Mr. Turner, very intimidating but also very charming when needed. Finally, Aaron Yoo was Ronnie, the clown of the piece if you like.
As I said at the beginning, I found this film quite disappointing and I think the problem was that I found it very hard to sympathise with any of the characters, particularly Kale. The script seemed to lack any originality and so the whole film suffered as a consequence. It wasn’t all bad though, it did have its tense moments and these where handled very well. Over all though, I found it pretty unsatisfying… Not recommended.
My Score: 5.5/10