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Disturbia is a 2007 American thriller film directed by D. J. Caruso, written by Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth and stars Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Sarah Roemer and Carrie-Anne Moss. The film follows a teenager who is placed on house arrest for assault and begins to spy on his neighbors, believing one of them is a possible serial killer.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byD. J. Caruso
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story byChristopher Landon
Music byGeoff Zanelli
CinematographyRogier Stoffers
Edited byJim Page
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • April 4, 2007 (2007-04-04) (Hollywood)
  • April 13, 2007 (2007-04-13) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$117.8 million[2]

Partially inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window,[3] the film released on April 13, 2007. It has an approval rating of 69% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $117.8 million against a budget of $20 million.


Troubled by the death of his father in an auto accident, Kale Brecht attacks his Spanish teacher when the teacher invokes his father while reprimanding him. For the assault, he is sentenced by a sympathetic judge to three months under house arrest with an ankle monitor and a proximity sensor. Detective Parker explains the system to Kale and his mother Julie. Initially, the teen just plays video games and watches television, but he is soon grounded by Julie and loses his access to the iTunes Music Store, Xbox Live, and his television.

Kale's boredom leads him to watch the neighborhood, including the two neighbor boys who play pranks on him, his next-door neighbor Robert Turner, and Ashley Carlson, the new girl in town. One night, Kale becomes suspicious of Turner, who returns home in a 1960s Ford Mustang with a dented fender that matches the description given on a news report of a serial killer at large. Kale's best friend Ronnie visits to spy on Ashley and, when they accidentally alert her to their hijinks, the curious girl joins them in spying on Turner. Kale observes a young woman Turner had picked up from a nightclub as she flees the house in a panic but later appears to leave in her car.

Ashley throws a party and teases Kale, knowing he is watching. He plays non-party music loudly to needle her, and Ashley comes over to stop it. But the two flirt and start to make out, distracting each other while blood splatters on Turner's windows. Later, as Kale and Ashley watch, Turner drags a heavy bag to his garage. Kale gets Ashley to follow Turner, but he confronts her in her car with a calm, but threatening manner. Meanwhile, Ronnie successfully breaks into Turner's garage with a camera but gets trapped when the garage door closes. Kale leaves to rescue him but alerts the police upon leaving his property with the ankle monitor. The police come and search the garage but show Kale the bag contains a roadkill deer. Julie then goes across the street to talk to Turner to ask him not to press charges, while Ronnie reveals that he has escaped from Turner's house.

When Kale watches the tape when Ronnie made it into Turner's house, he notices a corpse in plastic in a vent. Next door, Turner takes Julie captive and enters Kale's house, knocking out Ronnie and binding and gagging Kale. The killer reveals his plan to frame Kale for the murders of Ronnie and Julie and make it appear Kale then killed himself. When Ashley arrives, interrupting the plan, Kale attacks Turner, throwing him from the top of the stairs before Ashley frees him from his bindings; they jump out of the window into the pool when Turner resurfaces. Kale's ankle monitor again alerts the police, and he enters Turner's home to search for his mother. In a hidden room, Kale finds ample evidence of Turner's previous murders. The officer who monitors Kale arrives at the scene but Turner breaks his neck, killing him. Kale stumbles upon the decaying remains of murder victims and finds his mother bound and gagged. Turner appears, slashes Kale in the back and pins him to a wall, but before Turner can kill Kale, Julie stabs him in the leg with a dagger, allowing Kale to grab a pair of gardening shears and impale Turner in the chest with them, killing him.

In the aftermath, Kale is shown having his ankle bracelet removed by the authorities for good behavior and getting back at the two boys from earlier pranks. He then passionately kisses Ashley on his sofa, while Ronnie is playfully video taping them.


  • Shia LaBeouf as Kale Brecht, a 17-year-old high school student who is also under house arrest and begins to suspect that his neighbor is a serial killer.
  • David Morse as Robert Turner, Kale's neighbor who is suspected of being a serial killer.
  • Sarah Roemer as Ashley Carlson, Kale's neighbor and love interest who assists in Kale's mission to get to the truth.
  • Carrie-Anne Moss as Julie Brecht, Kale's mother who begins to develop a more authoritative attitude towards him.
  • Aaron Yoo as Ronnie Chu, Kale's best friend.
  • Viola Davis as Detective Parker, the detective in charge of Kale's case.
  • Jose Pablo Cantillo as Officer Gutierrez, Señor Gutierrez's cousin who likes to torment Kale while abusing his power.
  • Matt Craven as Daniel Brecht, Kale's father.
  • Luciano Rauso and Brandon and Daniel Caruso as the Greenwood boys.
  • Kevin Quinn as Mr. Carlson.
  • Elyse Mirto as Mrs. Carlson.
  • Suzanne Rico and Kent Shocknek as news anchors.
  • Rene Rivera as Señor Gutierrez, Kale's Spanish teacher.
  • Amanda Walsh as Minnie Tyco.
  • Charles Carroll as Judge.
  • Gillian Shure as Turner's Club Girl.
  • Dominic Daniel as Policeman.
  • Lisa Robin as Big Wheel Mom.
  • Cindy Lou Adkins as Mrs. Greenwood.



The script was written in the 1990s and was optioned. The original studio let the option expire after hearing about Christopher Reeve's remake of Rear Window. It was not until 2004 that the script was rewritten and sold.

Executive producer Steven Spielberg arranged for LaBeouf to be on the casting shortlist for this film because he was impressed by LaBeouf's work on Holes. Caruso auditioned over a hundred males for the role in five weeks before settling on LaBeouf as he was looking for someone "who guys would really like and respond to, because he wasn't going to be such a pretty boy". LaBeouf was attracted to the role because of the director's 2002 film The Salton Sea, which he complimented as one of his favorite films. Before filming started, the two watched the thriller films Rear Window starring James Stewart, Straw Dogs starring Dustin Hoffman, and The Conversation starring Gene Hackman. They also viewed the 1989 romantic film Say Anything... and "mixed all the movies together."[4] LaBeouf says he spoke to people on house arrest and locked himself in a room with the bracelet to feel what the confinement of house arrest is like.[4] He commented in an interview, "'s hard. I'm not going to say it's harder than jail, but it's tough. House arrest is hard because everything is available. [...] The temptation sucks. That's the torture of it."[4] Caruso gave him the freedom to improvise whenever necessary to make the dialogue appeal to the current generation.


Filmed on location in the cities of Whittier, California and Pasadena, California. Filming took place from January 6, 2006 to April 29, 2006 The homes of Kale and Mr. Turner, which were supposed to be across from each other, were actually located in two different cities.[5]

During filming, LaBeouf began a program that saw him gain twenty five pounds of muscle in preparation of his future films Transformers and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[6]

According to LaBeouf, David Morse who plays Mr. Turner, did not speak to LaBeouf or any of the other younger actors while on set. LaBeouf said, "When we finished filming, he was very friendly. But he's a method actor, and as long as we were shooting, he wouldn't say a word to us."


Box officeEdit

Disturbia grossed $80.2 million in North America and $37.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $117.8 million, against a budget of $20 million.[2]

The film was released in the United States on April 13 and opened first at the box office with $22.2 million.[7] The film remained number one at the box office for the next two weeks, grossing $13 million and $9 million, respectively.[8][9] In its fourth week, it earned $5.7 million and finished second behind the record-breaking Spider-Man 3 ($151.1 million).[10]

Critical responseEdit

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 69% based on 174 reviews, and an average rating of 6.28/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Aside from its clichéd resolution, Disturbia is a tense, subtle thriller with a noteworthy performance from Shia LaBeouf."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 62 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.

The film earned a "two thumbs up" rating from Richard Roeper and A.O. Scott (filling in for Roger Ebert), with Roeper saying, "This is a cool little thriller with big scares and fine performances."[13]

Some criticized the change of atmosphere two-thirds of the way into the film, when the initial pacing and action morphs into that of a "run-of-the-mill slasher horror film".[14]

David Denby of The New Yorker judged the film "a travesty", adding: "The dopiness of it, however, may be an indication not so much of cinematic ineptitude as of the changes in a movie culture that was once devoted to adults and is now rather haplessly and redundantly devoted to kids."[15]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Result
2007 Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards Breakthrough Award – Shia LaBeouf Runner-up
Golden Schmoes Awards Breakthrough Performance of the Year – Shia LaBeouf Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Star – Shia LaBeouf Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss – Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller Won
Choice Movie Actor: Horror/Thriller – Shia LaBeouf Won
Choice Movie: Breakout Male – Shia LaBeouf Won
2008 People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Drama Nominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Films – Geoff Zanelli Won
Empire Awards Best Thriller Nominated


The Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust filed a lawsuit against Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks, its parent company Viacom, and Universal Studios on September 5, 2008.[16][17] The suit alleged that Disturbia infringed on the rights to Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder" (the basis for the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Rear Window), and that DreamWorks never bothered to obtain motion picture rights to the intellectual property and evaded compensating the rights holder for the alleged appropriation. (Ownership of the copyright in Woolrich's original story "It Had to Be Murder" and its use as the basis for the movie Rear Window was previously litigated before the United States Supreme Court in Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990).) Contrary to some media reports, the claim was based on the original Woolrich short story, not the movie Rear Window.

This claim was rejected by the U.S. District Court in Abend v. Spielberg, 748 F.Supp.2d 200 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), on the basis that the original Woolrich short story and Disturbia are only similar at a high level of generality and abstraction. "Their similarities derive entirely from unprotectible elements and the total look and feel of the works is so distinct that no reasonable trier of fact could find the works substantially similar within the meaning of copyright law."[18] Disturbia contained many subplots not in the original short story.[19][20]

After the dismissal of the copyright claim in federal court, the Abend Trust filed another lawsuit in California state court against Universal Studios and the Hitchcock Estate on October 28, 2010, for a breach of contract claim based on earlier agreements which allegedly restricted the use of ideas from the original Woolrich short story and the movie Rear Window whether or not the ideas are copyright protectable, that the defendants had entered into with the Abend Trust after the Supreme Court's Stewart v. Abend decision.[21][22]

Home media Edit

The film was released on DVD and HD DVD on August 7, 2007 and on Blu-ray Disc on March 15, 2008. In the "Making of Disturbia" section of the DVD's special features section it is revealed that LaBeouf and Morse did not have much contact off-set, so as to make the fight scenes at the end of the movie as realistic as possible.



Disturbia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a soundtrack to the film of the same name, released on March 4, 2007 in the United States by Lakeshore Records.[23]


Disturbia: Original Motion Picture Score is a score to the film of the same name. It is composed by Geoff Zanelli, conducted by Bruce Fowler and produced by Skip Williamson. It was released on July 10, 2007 in the United States by Lakeshore Records.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Executive Suite: Tom Pollock and Ivan Reitman". The Hollywood Reporter. October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Disturbia (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  3. ^ Richard Roeper; A.O. Scott (April 2007). "Disturbia reviewed on Ebert & Roeper". Ebert & Roeper.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c "Interview with Shia LaBeouf– Disturbia". Biggie. 2007. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "Disturbia Filming Locations". Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Hart, Hugh (July 1, 2007). "Shia LaBeouf's Transformation". SFGate. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  7. ^ Germain, David (April 15, 2007). "DreamWorks No. 1 again with 'Disturbia'". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Adler, Shawn (April 23, 2007). "'Disturbia' Holds #1, But 'Hot Fuzz' Tastes Its Own Victory". MTV News. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  9. ^ Adler, Shawn (April 30, 2007). "'Disturbia' Does It Again — Better Luck 'Next' Time, Nic Cage". MTV News. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Adler, Shawn (May 7, 2007). "'Spider-Man 3' Busts Box-Office Records With Amazing Opening Weekend". MTV News. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "Disturbia". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  12. ^ "Disturbia (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  13. ^ Richard Roeper; A.O. Scott (April 2007). "Disturbia reviewed on Ebert & Roeper". Ebert & Roeper.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Jeffrey M. Anderson (April 13, 2007). "Combustible Celluloid film review — Disturbia (2007)". Combustible Celluloid. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  15. ^ Denby, David (May 7, 2007). "Movies". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  16. ^ Edith Honan (September 8, 2008). "Paramount ripped off Hitchcock Classic". Reuters. Retrieved September 8, 2008.
  17. ^ Chad Bray (September 9, 2008). "2nd UPDATE: Trust Files Copyright Lawsuit Over Disturbia". CNN Money. Retrieved September 8, 2008.[dead link]
  18. ^ "Abend v. Spielberg decision" (PDF).
  19. ^ "The "Rear Window Case" Gets a Semi-Sequel". blog. Hernandez Schaedel & Associates, LLP. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  20. ^ "Rear Window copyright claim rejected". BBC News. September 22, 2010.
  21. ^ Gardner, Eriq (October 29, 2010). "Decades-Old Legal Battle Over 'Rear Window' Is Back On". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  22. ^ "Complaint" (PDF).
  23. ^ Rovi. "Disturbia [Original Soundtrack]". Rovi Corp. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
  24. ^ "Disturbia [Original Motion Picture Score]". Rovi Corp. Retrieved December 13, 2012.

External linksEdit