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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 Laura Kyle

"Woa, did a little girl just steal a movie from Robert De Niro?"
3 stars

Hide and Seek could fall into the category of those “well, what was the surprise ending?” movies – and if one chooses to overlook the film’s 10-year-old star, then indeed – it falls with a loud, unoriginal thump.

Still, the last ten or fifteen pages of Ari Schlossberg’s script are not why you should go see Hide and Seek. The more you think about that, the less sense the movie makes, and the more cheated you’ll feel. But the fact of the matter is: the $8 was worth it. I bought the characters, I bought the story, and I didn’t take a bathroom break.

Let's be frank, Hide and Seek is manipulative.

However, it “hid” its stupidity and absurdity so well, burrying it all under A+ performances by a tremendous cast, to the point that I choose not to “seek” it all out in this here movie review.

Sure, the end is a cop-out that also betrays the movie and its characters in more ways than one. And sure, the characters do really dumb things. Plus, the plot, standing alone – even without the 'twist' ending, is comically contrived.

But it's rare to go to a scary movie these days, and actually be scared. The evidence is hardly circumstantial: White Noise, The Grudge, Gothika, 20% of the flicks on the Blockbuster new release wall, the list goes on and on – Alfred Hitchcock made it look too easy I guess and fooled inept filmmakers into believing they could pull off the same tricks. You can't, quit trying already!

So finally M. Night Shyamalan comes along, sufficiently wigging us out, and simultaneously telling a good story with The Sixth Sense. But little did we know, Shyamalan was only two movies shy of The Village.

So, forgive me for being generous to Hide and Seek, which is a refreshing thriller – well acted, competently written (though this screenplay feels more like a hurried prank than a well thought out mystery), and you know what? It’s kind of creepy. So move over Haley Joel Osmant, there’s a new “scary kid” in town, and her name is Dakota Fanning.

Fanning isn’t the sweet little blond girl you may remember from I Am Sam, or Man on Fire. In Hide and Seek, she’s a brunette (but her hair’s not long and stringy like that of the girl in The Ring), who in the aftermath of her mother’s suicide, has her psychologist father Robert De Niro wondering if a straightjacket would look nice on her. She develops an eerie friendship with her “imaginary” friend Charlie and embarks on a sinister game that is far from child’s play. (Plot subject to change in last quarter of film.)

There are ominous messages written on the walls, little Dakota draws frightening pictures, there’s a body count, and lots of red herrings (not mysterious ones though, more like the stuff of drinking games), etc… however director John Polson, with the help of John Ottman’s take-no-prisoners score (Ottman was fully responsible for the frights in Gothika), does an unusually good job at keeping a moviegoer on the edge of his or her seat, though he seems to go a little overboard with the foreshadowing, which almost overshadows the rest of the film...

But really the film relies on Fanning, who is simply a force to be reckoned with. And Robert De Niro learns this the hard way.

De Niro’s decent enough, despite his character being brain-dead (but if he were to play an intelligent, believable man, Hide and Seek would never have escalated to such silly proportions, and what fun would that be? You see, De Niro’s just taking one for the team.) But all eyes are on Fanning. Each scene she’s in might as well be stamped in the lower right hand corner with her name, because she truly owns Hide and Seek.

Whether the audience is frightened by her or for her (depending on its take on how the movie will eventually go down), Fanning is nothing short of captivating. And how she is able to navigate such a ridiculous plot and come out on the other end, without a single scratch, is beyond me.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering what the Big Secret is… just ask yourself: What do Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis, and Russell Crowe have in common? Normally I wouldn’t ruin an ending, but Hide and Seek kind of does that all by itself.

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originally posted: 01/30/05 12:13:52
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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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