All I asked for was a creepy, scare-me-silly good time, and all I got was this dumb t-shirt.Poor Dakota Fanning. After having shone so bright and appealed to so many with her emotionally-accessible performances in I Am Sam, Man on Fire and War of the Worlds, here she is in the dreadful Hide and Seek with a dark-hair dye-job looking zoned-out and wanton so she resembles Christina Ricci in The Addams Family. Of course, a sunshiny appearance would be at odds with her character here, a character having recently experienced the loss of her mother due to suicide and her being under the care of psychologist dad Robert De Niro, who's uprooted her from Manhattan to a New York bedroom community an hour away, and just so she can be enveloped and terrified by a supposed imaginary friend who's quite the morbid-minded one, leaving terrifying messages in blood-red above the bathtub and the like. Still, her performance is almost one-note throughout and doesn't even remotely emanate "the joy of acting". But who can blame her, after all, since she's been hired to lend gravitas to a truly hackneyed screenplay that borrows so heavily and shamelessly from other films that each and every scene seems adorned with a neon sign that reads "identity crisis"? We're meant to guess whether the ultimate culprit is supernatural or psychological, but the character base is so limited and the atmospherics so blase you find yourself not caring either way. Without ever hitting chalk marks even mediocre directors have managed to in the haunted-house subgenre, John Polson has no earthly idea how to conjure up suspense either through visual or aural means (especially the latter -- it's a thousand far cries from the brilliant sound design of Robert Zemeckis' similarly-themed, slightly-underpraised What Lies Beneath); and De Niro, giving us an umpteenth De Niro Lite special, shows as much verity as a Rodeo Drive mannequin. Added to which, the dialogue is terrible, the structure a mess, the pacing laborious, and the final twist foreseeable from several zip codes away. A couple more cinematic turkeys like this, and Fanning might find herself opting to do radio voiceovers instead.See "The Evil" or "The Changeling" instead.