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Overall Rating
2.04

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 Jay Seaver

"It's not that I'll forgive a thriller anything, but lying is right out."
1 stars

Are they serious? All that hype about shipping the last reel separately and numbering them so that they could track down where any leaks of the film's ending came from, the frisking we had to go through to make sure none of us had camera phones... For THIS ending?

Hide and Seek doesn't quite suck enough to displace White Noise as the worst movie of the young year - it's not quite so aggressively stupid - but it's pretty awful. It does the one thing that is unforgivable in a thriller - the thing which earns a negative mark from me on principle, meaning that even if the plot weren't full of holes and a talented cast didn't all manage to simultaneously give some of the worst performances of their careers, I'd still have walked out of the theater angry: It lies to its audience.

It's not a very big lie, not a lie that automatically makes it impossible for an audience member to figure out what's going on without it, but if you're going to show the audience things that don't happen, you'd better have a damn good reason. You'd better have more talent than director John Polson and writer Ari Schlossberg display. And, for crying out loud, don't lie to me in a way that makes the rest of the movie look even more absurd.

You've seen the trailers, so you know how it goes: Loving mother and daughter, mother slits wrists, blah blah kid gets creepy blah blah father takes her to the country blah blah imaginary friend blah blah blah violence blah blah plot twist blah blah prolonged game of cat and mouse blah blah unnecessary final twist. It's by the numbers, and they don't even manage to get that right - only the most passive, check-your-brain-at-the-door audience member won't feel the need to ask why this kid isn't in school (this would involve adding teachers and other adults who would inevitably say, hey, something's up, and derail the plot). Nobody seems to act in a believable manner, from Robert DeNiro's widowed father who actually wears headphones while his mentally disturbed child is playing outside to Elisabeth Shue's recent divorcée whose thought process is pretty incomprehensible: "Well, okay, this guy recently lost his wife, his daughter freaked my niece out and seems not to like me, it's late February or March in upstate New York... I should show up around his house in outfits that give them a really good look at my cleavage. A lot."

Every actor underperforms. DeNiro seems like the most ineffectual parent ever until the end, when he's just silly. Elisabeth Shue pretty much exhausts what goodwill lingered from Soapdish and Leaving Las Vegas. Famke Janssen is just sort of there, not actively bad and thus probably still a few bad movies away from being where Elisabeth Shue is. Dakota Fanning - look, I like her, although the sheer volume of parts someone so young has had in the past five years is enough to induce cynicism on its own. She gets a freakshow character to play, and does so with gusto. There's always been a bit of a weird quality to her, if only because two of her first big roles were playing a Who in The Grinch and a part-alien in Taken, but this is the first time I didn't find her genuine in spite of it.

Maybe the worst thing about this movie, even worse than the lying, is that buried underneath the red herrings (this movie probably has more false leads per hour than any you'll see this year), there's a good story, and no-one involved seems to realize this. The filmmakers got so intent on making a movie about a creepy little girl that they missed what a potentially great story about a scared little girl they had. Move your big reveal up earlier - to, like, the very beginning - and this is a much more disturbing, tense movie. It might not have been the one they originally planned on, it could have been seen as crass, and there's no guarantee they wouldn't have screwed it up as badly as they did here, but, hey, it's not likely to be worse.

But, no, that would have meant deviating from the "something scary and unknown lurking in the shadows" playbook. And I don't think these guys have the creativity for that, let alone the talent to do it well.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11471&reviewer=371
originally posted: 01/31/05 13:14:15
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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
2/20/13 PAUL SHORTT DERIVATIVE, SILLY,YAWN-A-MINUTE PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Jan-2005 (R)
  DVD: 05-Jul-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Feb-2005




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