Teen Shia LaBeouf, whose recent troublesome behaviour attributed to the tragic death of his father (Matt Craven, in an early cameo), has landed him in court-ordered house arrest (ankle bracelet and all), spends most of his free time spying on his neighbours. These include the new hottie (Sarah Roemer- who, quite frankly, ain’t even that hot), and secretive David Morse, whom LaBeouf starts to suspect of committing nefarious deeds. Carrie-Ann Moss is LaBeouf’s fed-up mother, and Aaron Yoo is amusing as his excitable best friend (in the Stephen Geoffreys from “Fright Night” mould).
I actually found this uninspired but watchable 2007 D.J. Caruso (“Taking Lives”, “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage”) modernisation of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” to be a more pleasurable experience than that supremely overrated film. I know, you’re mocking me right now, but it’s my sincere belief that it’s a slightly more entertaining film. Slightly. Comparisons are unavoidable, but I actually found that the film moved at a better clip, and most importantly, didn’t get too bogged down with scenes of someone watching someone else doing something not nearly as interesting to the movie viewer, as it is to the film character doing the watching. That always bugged me about “Rear Window”. Also, whilst LaBeouf and the awfully self-conscious Roemer are no match for Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, everyone’s favourite utility actor Morse is spot-on as the creep. I don’t agree with most people’s assertion that Morse always plays baddies, and thus is too obvious in the role. I don’t know what planet you people are from, but on this planet, Morse more often plays characters who are innately good, or ones with shades of grey- “The Langoliers”, “The Negotiator”, “The Crossing Guard”, “The Green Mile”, “Proof of Life” etc. He did play a dim baddie in the remake of “Desperate Hours”, though, back in 1990 and also “16 Blocks”)
The plot’s nothing to write home about, and neither are the characters, but it’s all very easy on the eyes and brain, and sometimes even I don’t mind that sort of thing. Just don’t go touching “Strangers on a Train” or “Vertigo” anytime soon (they’ve been ripped-off a few times over the years but not recently, unless you count “Mulholland Drive” as a reworking of “Vertigo”). And hey, it’s better than some of the plagiaristic crap De Palma comes up with. “Body Double” is a far bigger crime against “Rear Window”, if you ask me). Scripted by Christopher Landon (the “Paranormal Activity” franchise) and Carl Ellsworth (the economical and similarly watchable B-flick “Red Eye”), my main gripe with the film was the incredibly unsympathetic character Moss played, she’s more than just a harried mother, she’s just plain bitchy at times. Unrealistically so. But maybe I’ve just got mother issues. What’s that? No, mother...I...I wasn’t...I...I....You’ll have to forgive mother. She goes a little mad sometimes...We all go a little mad sometimes...