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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
[] Buy posters from this movie
by U.J. Lessing

"If an hour and 45 minutes of simulated emotional child abuse is your thing…"
1 stars

Hide and Seek is yet another nail hammered into the coffin of the American Horror film. It joins the ranks of Suspect Zero, The Forgotten and White Noise by relying on cheap scares, ponderous pacing, and children in peril to raise the emotional ante. The result is nearly unwatchable.

When morose psychiatrist David Calloway (Robert DeNiro) discovers the body of his wife Alison in the bathtub with her wrists cut, he inadvertently exposes the carnal scene to his young daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning), traumatizing her. With Emily approaching catatonia, Calloway decides to take her away from New York City to a secluded house by a lake to recuperate.

(I wish we could have seen the real estate add Calloway responded to when choosing his new house: Picturesque single family home-well taken care of-plenty of closets for the cats to jump out of- Rattling panes-Disturbing bathroom with claw foot tub (perfect for remembering that special suicide!)- Explore the spooky cave in the lonely woods behind the house or investigate the old subterranean vault hidden in closet- troubled and perturbed neighbors WILL bring homemade preserves- cozy for fun. )

Emily does not respond well to the new location. She defaces and throws away her dolls, becomes distant and at times vicious towards her father and other adults around her, and she begins to express a connection with an imaginary friend. At first the benign “Charley” is simply someone Emily uses to play hide-and-seek. But “Charley” is no “Drop-Dead-Fred” and soon it becomes pretty clear that “Charley” blames Calloway for the death of his wife and is out to punish him.

As the despondent Calloway desperately tries to help his daughter, Charley’s acts become more and more horrific. Is Emily so disturbed, she is becoming a monster? Does Charley have some basis in reality? Do the creepy neighbors or the stone-faced sheriff have anything to do with these peculiarities? Is something supernatural going on in the house/ cave/ basement/ town?

As Calloway, DeNiro tries to capture a sense of stoic desperation, but the sluggish despondency in his performance considerably slows the film and alienates the viewer. Conversely, watching Emily’s suffering is downright painful. While Dakota Fanning perfectly captures the way grief that can wipe the vivacity from a child, we are forced to watch her character psychologically tormented again and again. Her emotional thrashings are just as relentless and sadistic as the torture scenes in The Passion of the Christ.

Hide and Seek is cluttered with overused horror elements: there’s a spooky imaginary friend (more effectively used in The Shining and The Exorcist), a soundtrack that attempts to scare you with loud twangs and nervous whinnying, and long slow pans down dark hallways. There’s even a cat that runs screeching from an opened closet. How often have you seen that one? These clichés further mar what little credibility Hide and Seek had.

Predictably all of this is leading to an obligatory twist ending.

Does every horror movie really have to have a twist ending? Poor M. Night Shyamalan is probably spending sleepless nights trying to come up with a fresh twist. (I think the biggest twist in a future M. Night Shyamalan picture would be if there weren’t any twists.) The “surprise” ending in Hide and Seek is not only unreasonable, but also downright unoriginal. A similar movie already surprised audiences with the same ending last spring. The unoriginal conclusion may clear up any ambiguities the audience had, but it certainly is not satisfying.

Director John Polson and writer Ari Schlossberg desired to create a thoughtful psychological horror film, but ended up with a mess of a film that is neither thought provoking or entertaining. The true horror lies in the viewer’s experience of watching time-consuming cliché-ridden nonsense.

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originally posted: 01/28/05 16:26:40
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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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