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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.67%
Worth A Look: 8.33%
Average: 22.5%
Pretty Bad: 7.5%
Total Crap55%

9 reviews, 66 user ratings

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Hide and Seek
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by EricDSnider

"Ready or not, here I suck."
3 stars

"Hide and Seek" is the kind of by-the-numbers thriller where a man says, "I was always afraid of the woods" just so someone can reassure him, "Nothing to be afraid of in THESE woods," and it's all some screenwriter's brilliant idea of foreshadowing. Because of course there IS something to be afraid of in these woods, duh.

I can recommend "Hide and Seek" to you if you enjoy films depicting families who move into giant, secluded houses where odd phenomena occur, and in particular if you like for those phenomena to involve old music boxes. (Personally, the very idea of music boxes has been tainted for me, because of their frequent inclusion in scary movies.) And do you like multiple red herrings and climaxes full of deus ex machinae? Then once again, "Hide and Seek" is up your alley.

The rest of us will find it to be an ordinary, mildly suspenseful, eventually preposterous thriller that warrants no more attention or thought than the time it takes to watch it, if that.

Robert De Niro, offering further proof that the time to stop respecting him as a great actor was at least five years ago, plays David Callaway, a New York psychologist whose wife slits her wrists in the bathtub as the film begins (possibly BECAUSE the film begins). He is left to care for their young daughter, Emily (Dakota Fanning), who witnessed the aftermath of the suicide and is traumatized by it.

Seeking to get away from the nasty old memories of the city, David moves himself and Emily to upstate New York, to a secluded old house on the lake. Here they can build a new life together, a life free of dead, exsanguinated mothers in bathtubs, a life where complete isolation from the rest of the world will surely help Emily become a normal, healthy little girl.

But wait! Removing Emily from her familiar surroundings and putting her in a strange old house with only her De Niro-ish father to keep her company somehow FAILS to lift her spirits! Already morose and haunted, she initiates some disturbing behavior along the lines of maiming dolls and torturing insects. She also creates an imaginary friend named "Charlie" on whom she blames her various misdeeds -- not unlike the "Family Circus" children and their playful alter ego "Not Me," except that Charlie drowns the family cat and writes accusatory messages over the bathtub, mischief that Not Me could only dream of perpetrating.

Emily apparently blames her father for her mother's suicide, and she apparently intends to lay the blame at his feet not through tearful outbursts over dinner (which is the generally accepted method), but through eerie, destructive behavior that causes pets to die (which is somewhat frowned-upon).

I don't count myself among Dakota Fanning's devotees -- I assume there are some -- but I do admit that the creepy little girl does a good job playing a creepy little girl. At last, she has been assigned a role that suits her. She has a natural quality about her in this film, not contrived, as in most of her other appearances.

The film's trouble comes in its finale, where it attempts to negotiate a twist that is beyond its capabilities. Written by new-comer Ari Schlossberg and directed by "Swimfan" auteur John Polson, the movie just isn't clever enough to pull off what it's trying to do. It's so intent on keeping us from guessing the ending that it lies to us -- or, at the very least, seriously misleads us -- about certain events earlier on.

This isn't fair, of course, and a movie that has to cheat to win its surprise is not a movie to be respected. It's not worth the effort to actively dislike "Hide and Seek"; it is enough merely to disregard it.

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originally posted: 02/03/05 18:19:15
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell dull corny man with 2 personalities flick so if i spoiled anthing but its rather obvious 1 stars
7/16/11 Jeff Wilder Truly abysmal. 1 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. it was alright. most horror movies aren't that great. 3 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann The most hilarious plot twist ever filmed. Too bad it was supposed to be a thriller... 1 stars
8/06/07 ravenmad So full of holes it ain't a joke, no sense, no direction~ Thank god for the library! 1 stars
6/20/07 Muted Orbz Watch Deniro ruin the hard work of a talented little girl. 3 stars
5/01/07 Ole Man Bourbon "Yes, I'm talkin' to you. Screw you, I want my free rental back." 1 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega Not that good. 3 stars
12/15/06 Stanley Thai A really great thriller. Good acting. 4 stars
9/19/06 annie The movie builds up good and then the end is so stupid. 3 stars
8/19/06 Beau Great acting with a brilliant twist that will captivate the minds of the audience 4 stars
5/23/06 Sophia D. It was good. But it was confusing. 4 stars
5/17/06 Jackie AMAZING! 5 stars
5/07/06 Charlene Javier Poor Dakota... 2 stars
4/10/06 Alex Is more tremendous! I yet did not meet on the Internet of a drain of games and the informat 5 stars
4/09/06 Anastasya Thank you for being generous with your resources... I hope that you will receive more than 5 stars
3/08/06 Jin Really effective thriller. One of the best 4 stars
3/02/06 Bill Greetings to all! Excuse for this message, but at you excellent design of a site! Very much 2 stars
11/09/05 michael good movie until the last 15 minutes 3 stars
10/26/05 Ellie Harrington This movie made me very dissapointed and saddened that such talent was wasted completely 1 stars
10/04/05 Michael Blower Don't understand the negative comments. Good film admit it, you don't have to be sheep 4 stars
9/28/05 tatum Sad to sit through a two hour movie after figuring it out the first ten minutes 2 stars
9/09/05 John bad script worse direction - and worst of all NOT scary 1 stars
8/30/05 ES Dakota Fanning scares me more than De Niro does, devil child 2 stars
8/20/05 Sara B. In a world awash in bad suspense films, this one isn't completely without merit. 3 stars
7/28/05 Monday Morning The most boring, slow-paced piece of shite in a long time. 1 stars
7/24/05 Mia Watchable until the predictable and idiotic "twist". 1 stars
7/24/05 alaina I think is so stupid that you can pick 4 different endings on the dvd... I 3 stars
7/22/05 Jordan secret wondow remake if u ask me secret window was better 1 stars
7/14/05 Lauren Don't waste your time, as I just did. 1 stars
7/14/05 Indrid Cold Builds suspense pretty well up until the twist, but is sleep-inducing after that. 3 stars
7/10/05 othree horrible horrible, 1 of the few xs I can say I want the 101 mins back 1 stars
7/08/05 V People criticize this movie b/c they don't understand who or what Charlie is. Pay attention 4 stars
7/07/05 ALDO this is a watch once type of film.....twice would be too much 3 stars
7/01/05 Alejandro is awesome a horror movie and a very very fun movie 5 stars
6/13/05 Helen Bradley Dakota Fanning excellent slow paced poor editing 3 stars
5/24/05 tristan cool 5 stars
3/05/05 Sam Eskenazi come on 2 stars
3/04/05 Chris Stephens Good thriller. 3 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung dakota out-acts robert 3 stars
2/25/05 Comixchick This had the audience laughing out loud! Dumb, dumb, dumb... 1 stars
2/19/05 Raul Valdez do the studoies even try anymore? 1 stars
2/15/05 Melody Arneil Dakota Fanning made the film watchable for what was essentially a weak story 2 stars
2/15/05 Christine Dakota Fanning was excellent 4 stars
2/14/05 Joy Simply showing the fanning freak should have been scary enough. 1 stars
2/13/05 John Bale Sixth Sense collides with The Shining, and makes no sense. Spooky Fanning saves the show. 4 stars
2/10/05 Colleen Goldrick Just Hide 2 stars
2/07/05 Anthony T This film is clever and performances are great! Critics "the ending was a copout" NONSENSE! 4 stars
2/07/05 kumar crap crap crap crap crap 1 stars
2/06/05 Cassandra Farrar good idea...bad movie 2 stars
2/06/05 me A great film 5 stars
2/02/05 Steve Michaud A vile, reprehensible film that exploits child psychological abuse for cheap thrills 1 stars
2/02/05 whatevr the only hiding I will do is from this movie 1 stars
2/02/05 Tammera Mack dumb 1 stars
2/01/05 Danita Berg Great until the end. The twist wasn't such a twist. 3 stars
2/01/05 Lynda Eby Expected much more. De Niro let me down! 3 stars
2/01/05 malcolm a good try, but not quite 3 stars
1/31/05 chrys waiting for the day the idol of the morons a.k.a the fanning freakshow ends up in rehab. 1 stars
1/31/05 mott the drupal didn't have enough gerbils. sucks. 1 stars
1/30/05 atanu acting like a grown up is not a substitute for good acting. fanning is plain creepy. 1 stars
1/30/05 Casey Tells good movie 5 stars
1/30/05 Garnet Leib Sucks 1 stars
1/30/05 Marilyn pathetic movie 2 stars
1/29/05 me A great film 5 stars
1/29/05 darlenecom This movie will keep your attention! 4 stars
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  28-Jan-2005 (R)
  DVD: 05-Jul-2005



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