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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 Lybarger

"My card is American Express, and my new movie blows."
1 stars

It's bad enough that director M. Night Shyamalan feels the constant need to rehash his breakthrough movie "The Sixth Sense" to diminishing returns, but does the rest of Hollywood have to follow suit?

"Hide and Seek" has the same moody atmosphere and twist ending as Shyamalan's film. Australian director John Polson of "Swimf@n" fame (can we deport him?) and screenwriter Ari Schlossberg also manage to ape Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," Martin Scorsese's "Cape Fear" and a few other more interesting scary flicks. While the two of them manage to copy camera angles or editing, they simply can't duplicate the chills.

For a movie that's supposed to make viewers' spines tingle, the only vibrations viewers will feel during "Hide and Seek" is the low rumble of people snoring.

Polson and Schlossberg manage to assemble a dream cast and then squander them on a sketchy story and a recycled plot. First rate character actors like Melissa Leo and Dylan Baker walk around with droopy looks in their eyes as if they were waiting to start work on a Todd Solondz or Hal Hartley flick once they'd finished their sentence here.

A committed but indifferent Robert DeNiro stars as a New York psychologist named David Calloway who moves Upstate to get away from the sorrow of his wife's death (played with negligible enthusiasm by Amy Irving).

David's young daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) is understandably shaken, but she's beginning to worry her dad because she keeps telling him about her malevolent and seemingly invisible playmate Charlie. Whenever David discovers nasty messages written on his bathroom wall, Emily keeps blaming Charlie.

The unseen Charlie is doing everything he can to wreck David's budding relationship with a pretty local woman (Elizabeth Shue), and his attacks are getting more and more malicious and deadly.

Charlie's identity and even his existence are supposed to be a mystery, but alert viewers can grasp it pretty quickly (and certainly faster than any of the characters) because Schlossberg's cast and his imagination are too small.

Because the mystery isn't so mysterious, Polson and Schlossberg aggravate the resulting malaise by dragging out the conclusion even after the cat's out of the bag.

Speaking of cats, you know a thriller hasn't got much to offer if it resorts to screeching felines jumping out of closets. Most of the shocks are pretty tired and cheap. Furthermore, when the film is over, the attempted jolts prove to be nothing but red herrings. The swelling dissonant music and other clichés seem even hollower because they really don't lead up to anything greater.

It's as if Polson and Schlossberg had sat around randomly cutting out pages of better scripts and pasted the scraps together without figuring out how to make their borrowed tricks work. True, it's the sort of writing exercise that William S. Burroughs used to do, but Burroughs at least had the excuse that he was on drugs.

Fanning's performance is the only redeeming trait for "Hide and Seek." The other filmmakers could really use the sincerity and subtlety she brings to each role. In "I Am Sam," "Man on Fire" and "Uptown Girls," Fanning upstaged her much older and taller co-stars. It's about time she had a film that matched her performances.

As for DeNiro, I'd rather seem him do another commercial than watch him waste both his time and mine on material that Steven Seagal would reject.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11471&reviewer=382
originally posted: 01/28/05 17:10:14
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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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