Time: 105 mins.
SYNOPSIS: A teen living under house arrest becomes convinced his neighbor is a killer.
BOTTOM LINE: I don't really get why Shia LaBeouf is currently the greatest thing since sliced bread, but even if he was the reincartion of Brando he couldn't have saved this modernized REAR WINDOW retread from itself. Granted REAR WINDOW is one of the best suspense films ever made, so it's no wonder no one has attempted to remake it since 1954. Director D.J. Caruso is no Alfred Hitchcock, so he was starting from behind the eight ball from the get go. I decided to give this film a chance since it was so popular at the box office, but I really should have known better. I wanted to like it and for the first hour or so I did, despite our leads sullen, punk attitude that just made we want to slap him and glad once again that I don't have children. Now granted, Kale has a fairly good reason to be unhappy and depressed, but you can't take your troubles out on other people without the law getting involved.
This sets up his incarceration in his own home with nothing to do but his homework – not really a high priority for a teenager – and play video games, which actually gets boring after awhile. So, he decides to start watching his neighbors, especially the cute new girl (Roemer) who moved in next door. Much to her parents dismay, his bad boy attitude is a turn on for Ashley, who's family's own domestic squabbles cause her to turn to Kale as an escape. Ah, young love. Don't care. The other neighbors seem fairly normal and boring until Kale witnesses Mr. Turner on a date that apparently ends badly for the young woman he brought home. He initially can't believe what he's seeing, but the suspicious behavior of his neighbor compells him to enlist his friends (he can't leave his house) to find out the truth. It's at this point that the film starts to unravel and becomes one unlikely scenario after another, while attempting to rachet up the tension for the big finale.
I went along on this ride until Kale's mother (Moss) becomes involved, winding up in Mr. Turner's clutches and forcing Kale to take action for himself. Morse is pitch perfect in the role of creepy neighborhood killer, making your skin crawl everytime he's onscreen because behind his calm exterior you just know he's up to no good. Everything works until the final 10-15 minutes which almost completely ruined the entire film for me. It's just another example of going way over the top in an attempt to "shock" viewers when something more subtle would have been just as effective. The fact that Kale's mother's life is in danger was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat, but I guess I'm just old-fashioned. Overall, this is a fairly well-constructed thriller that just fails to deliver a satisfying and/or believable ending. If you've never seen REAR WINDOW, you'll probably really enjoy this ride. For those who have it doesn't compare, but that won't be a surprise.