Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning keep pulses pounding and hearts racing in this chilling horror hit about a troubled father and daughter tormented by someone ? or something ? named Charlie, a malevolent entity who may or ... more »may not be ?imaginary? but is definitely the stuff nightmares are made of!« less
Brad S. (Snibot) from DALLAS, TX Reviewed on 1/19/2010...
The acting was truly amazing, De Niro and Fanning are truly superb in this film. The writing was absolutely wonderful as was the cinematography. They keep us in suspense running up to the end, absolutely wonderful.
It has been a long time since thrillers were done this well. John Polson, hats off to you way to step it up.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Caron H. (pimpmonkey) from STARKE, FL Reviewed on 2/27/2008...
I love this movie, but my old man absolutely hated it.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
FATHER KNOWS BEST...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 07/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let me cut to the chase. This film did not, at all, meet my expectations. The trailers lead one to believe that it is a film with supernatural overtones, but it turns out to be something else all together. The story line seems simple on its face. Alison Callaway (Amy Irving), a wife and loving mother, unexpectedly decides to slit her wrist in the bathtub one night, killing herself. Her husband, psychologist David Callaway, comes upon her lifeless body, and so does their beloved daughter, Emily (Dakota Fanning). Emily goes into shock and comes under the care of a therapist named Katherine (Famke Janssen).
Sometime later, when Emily's condition seemingly improves, her father then decides to leave New York City, where they live, and relocate to a small upstate town. No sooner do they move there, they meet the real estate agent and the town's sheriff, both of whom seem a tad peculiar. Moreover, there appears to be something not quite right with the couple next door, especially the husband. When Emily starts talking about an ostensibly imaginary friend named Charlie, the viewer knows that something is afoot. When David develops a new friend of his own, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Shue), trouble lies ahead, as Emily exhibits bizarre behavior towards her, as well as towards Elizabeth's young niece who is trying to befriend her.
As Charlie appears to be becoming an ever present and ominous entity in their lives, and Emily's odd behavior continues unabated, David remains the most kind, concerned, and understanding of fathers. He contacts Emily's therapist Katherine, who is very concerned about the eccentric behavior Emily is exhibiting. Meanwhile, the male neighbor interjects himself into the picture in a seemingly ominous way. So, David, who is also having flashbacks of events involving his wife, appears to have his hands full on the home front. By the time things start to go totally askew, the viewer can pretty much guess what the final denouement will be.
Despite its great cast and excellent performances, the script is weak and leaves a lot to be desired. It cheats the viewer with its subplots that go nowhere and are used merely to create red herrings for the sake of creating them. The film ends up being no more than total nonsense. Ari Schlossberg, the screenwriter, has made the mistake of underestimating the intelligence of the average viewer who would go to see a film starring Robert De Niro. Not even De Niro's otherwise fine performance can elevate this film to more than what it is, which is a far cry from what it promises in its trailers.
The DVD provides clear audio and visuals. It also provides four alternate endings that are moderately interesting, at best. What it does not provide is a film worth adding to one's personal collection. This is a film that is worth a rental, when you have nothing better to do. "
Let's play Hide and Seek with the DVD, and pretend we can't
Jonathan Appleseed | 01/02/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's important for a director to immediately establish a level of trust with his/her audience. We need to believe that we are in capable hands that will introduce us to characters and situations that make perfect sense, and that events will follow one another with unyielding logic.
At first, I felt that a decision made early in the film was a decision that was outside the "trust" I described above. Toward the end of the film, I realized that the decision was OK - even though I thought it was a bad idea on the filmmaker's part to make that particular decision. I wish that the screenwriters had worked harder to come up with a different way to get from point A to point B. The problem with the "real" decision was that I lost faith in the director/story almost immediately because it appeared - at the time - to be utterly ridiculous.
There was a scene where a cat came jumping out of a closet for shock value, and my lord, I can't count the number of times where that tired old trick has been used. Whenever that happens, I immediately think that someone's being lazy and can't come up with a better way to give the audience a quick scare. Besides - it's quite awful to leave a cat locked up in a closet because they tend to start using it as their bathroom, and you just can't get cat pee out of *anything*.
As the movie progressed, it began to move in a fairly reasonable logic flow, and I started to gain trust in the director/story again, even though there were some unnecessary characters and scenes.
Dakota Fanning (Emily), is an amazing actress whose ability to portray a wide range of emotions that many actors and actresses with years more training and experience would give their left foot for, is the perfect character for the part. We see her happy, we see her completely dead inside, and we see her unbearably terrified. Her tremors and tears are terrors ring true. She is the best actor in the film. (Which is saying quite a bit.)
The movie is about a man whose wife dies and he moves to the country to help his daughter cope. This didn't make sense to me, because as a psychologist, the father, David, (DeNiro), should have known that was just plain stupid. We don't see many emotions from DeNiro after his wife dies, and that too disturbed me. Again - I didn't feel in capable hands, so I questioned everything that looked wrong.
While in a beautiful house in the country, Emily has what everyone calls an imaginary friend - Charlie. David is frustrated by this, and has a few conversations with a former student of his that is close to Emily.
And that's where the story starts to pick up. Charlie is more and more a part of Emily's life, and David feels isolated.
In the end, it seemed that the movie was going for a "Sixth Sense" feel, and it almost achieved it, but fell short. We're shown the obligatory flashbacks, but they aren't as convincing, shocking, or as immediately understood as those that occurred in Shyamalan's film. (I saw "The Sixth Sense" in the theater in its opening weekend. As I'm hard of hearing, I wear headsets that, thankfully, drown out idiots who like to talk through films. However, those headsets couldn't keep me from hearing the shocked gasps from the audience. It's a shame that Shyamalan has been trying to recreate that same shock in the rest of his films, because he's failed miserably.) If "Hide and Seek" wasn't incorporating the elemental template of "The Sixth Sense", it would have made for a more interesting film. Or if "The Sixth Sense" had never been made, it might have been more interesting. But I don't think it would have been much more interesting, because as I said, the flashbacks and the shocks that those flashbacks were supposed to cause fell short.
Case in point: "The Sixth Sense" has a rating of 8.2 on imdb.pro, and Hide and Seek has a rating of 5.5. I tend to trust those ratings, because members of imdb.pro are film aficionados, and thousands of people (129,000 for SS and 13,600 for HaS) cast votes. It's a good sample. "
Ghost of greatness
John E. Lawson | Hyattsville, MD United States | 03/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Fanning is brilliant in her role as a haunted young girl. DeNiro, as mentioned elsewhere, is all wrong for the part of her father. Not because he can't act, but because these days he can't keep from impersonating himself - a condition afflicting most established stars. It's kept in check throughout most of the picture, but once the disappointing ending is set into motion his hammy performance summons to mind Analyze That, Meet the Parents, etc., completely killing the tension built early on. Just an average thriller overall."
Talking Wall | Queen Creek, AZ | 07/24/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"At one point I said to my wife, if Emily's friend Charlie turns out to be "X" I'm really going to be pissed. Charlie was "X". Predictable. Bad. If you liked the movie Identity - the lamest thriller of all time - you will like this. Dakota's acting is incredible but the story and premise are just stupid. Terrible writing. Did a 10 year old write this piece of junk? People are actually getting paid real money to write this garbage? There's more mystery, tension, and suspense in what lies beneath all that mold in the vegetable drawer in my fridge than you will find here. What the heck happened to the DeNiro we once knew? Pathetic. Just pathetic."
Movie_Fan | Texas | 09/18/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie starts off with the death of Emily's (Dakota Fanning) mother. Wanting to get away from it all, she and her father (De Niro), move to the country. There she finds friendship in an imaginary friend she calls Charlie. Strange, creepy things start happening, writing on walls, people dying, dolls defaced, etc... The movie pretends to play out on the psychological effect of grief, which here came from the death of the mother. I don't want to spoil the movie, so I'll just say that one form we see comes in the shape of Emily's reclusiveness. But unfortunately, it's just that, it pretends...there's no REAL psychological depth to the movie, which is too bad, otherwise it wouldn't have been that bad.
The movie plays out fairly predictably, in the sense that you can tell who is going to die and who isn't. Now I know this is supposed to be scary or something along those lines, but I just thought it failed at that. I was bored out of my mind during the first half of the movie, and then when things got a little "juicier", the answers came along relatively fast and it's a little dissapointing. Without revealing anything, I'll just say that I thought the ending was just bad. It looked like a bad wannabe version of the Sixth Sense, or worse, The Village. We're also left with holes with some of the characters, notably the neighbors.
However, this movie does have something going for it : Its cast. Dakota Fanning carries this whole movie, she's great. While I'm not the biggest fan of DeNiro, he's also good, even more so when you take the whole of the movie into consideration. The supporting cast (Elisabeth Shue and Famke Janssen) breezes through as well.
My only recommendation is that if you want to be scared, you'd be better off walking around your neighborhood at 2 o'clock in the morning than watching this movie, most likely because I found it amusing more than anything else."