Kale Brecht is a troubled suburban teenager who loses his dad in a gruesome car accident. A year afterward, still raw from his dad's death and slipping behind in school, he assaults his Spanish teacher. He ends up getting sentenced to three months in house arrest, controlled by a GPS bracelet around his leg that only allows him to move within an electronic perimeter around his house. An immediate-response alert is triggered by the bracelet if Kale ever steps outside this area.Not only does his mother cut off his TV and Internet access, but the policeman supervising his home detention is the cousin of the Spanish teacher. Imprisoned in his house, he has nothing to do all day but look out of his window and watch his neighbors. Monitoring their activities every waking hour, he sees one neighbor having an affair with his maid, kids watching porn when they are alone, the strange Robert Turner who may or may not be a killer, and the new girl next door Ashley, who spends more time on her rooftop than inside her actual house. After meeting Ashley and watching her undress with her blinds open, she catches him in the act but eventually gets pulled into his obsessive search for the killer in the neighborhood.Heavily inspired by the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Rear Window.Not to be confused with the Rihanna song.
This film has examples of the following tropes:
Adults Are Useless: Sometimes averted and sometimes played straight. The police are actually willing to search Turner's garage at Kale's frantic behest. Kale's mother plays this straight until the last ten minutes of the movie. However, Kale's mom has some reasoning as she is more worried that Kale is going nuts and going to do something that will result in him being taken away from her by the police. That, and his evidence isn't the strongest.
Bound and Gagged: Happens to both Kale and his mother. In a rare case in suspense films, this actually doesn't prevent them from retaliating — Kale's mother is ironically at her most useful by far while duct taped up in Turner's basement.
Bratty Half-Pint: The little kids, though Laser-Guided Karma hits them in a bulls-eye when Kale is freed from house arrest and he tells their mom that they've been watching porn. From what we can see in the end, she loses it.
Butt Monkey: Kale does through a few moments, like being tormented by his bratty neighbors.
Cassandra Truth: Kale tells this about Turner. Naturally, nobody listens to him because he didn't have enough evidence.
Dude, Where's My Reward?: Kale gets off his house arrest early due to "good behavior", gets the girl, and gets payback on the boys. Now, compared to losing his father, being put in house arrest in the first place, the resulting disconnect from society that made him the stalker that discovered the killer, which in turn puts his life, his mother's life, and his friends' lives in mortal danger. Although, his reputation in town did go from "that nutty kid under house arrest" to "that kid who saved us from the serial killer".
Humiliation Conga: The first part of the film is this for Kale. He is sentenced to house arrest for three months during summer holidays. Then his mother cuts off his Internet access and TV cables, and in the end he is reduced to making towers of Twinkies out of boredom. Then the neighborhood brats put a burning paper bag full of dog shit on his porch, and of course, Kale's feet get covered in it. Then he chases after the brats down the street only to violate his house arrest, so he sprints back and collapses embarrassingly on his shit-stained lawn in front of the sexy girl next door. Then the neighborhood cop, alerted by the GPS bracelet, arrives to bend him over and handcuff him publicly.
Product Placement: iPods are frequently used and Kale is shown using a Macbook Pro and playing on an Xbox 360.
Properly Paranoid: Kale, about his neighbor being a murderer. He was right all along.
Recycled INSPACE: Although not a straight remake, this movie is basically Rear Window WITH TEENAGERS!
Revenge: Kale finally gets his revenge on those bratty kids for tormenting him by posing as a person who works for a TV network, and getting the kids in trouble with their mother by snitching on them for watching porn.
Serial Killer: The neighbor Robert Turner is revealed to be this early on.
The judge sent Kale to jail instead of house arrest.
Kale's mom didn't cancel his Xbox Live and his iTunes.But then again, Kale would never discover Turner's activities, and so an insane serial killer would be quietly continuing his murderous existence...
Would Hurt a Child: Subverted with Kale wanting to hurt the children who were bothering him but because he was on house arrest, he was forced to go back to his house.
Wrong Genre Savvy: The Spanish teacher who berated Kale for ignoring his homework. He apparently expected Kale to have a deep change of heart when he went: "What would your father think?". Instead, the teacher got beaten up.