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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.67%
Worth A Look: 8.33%
Just Average: 22.5%
Pretty Crappy: 7.5%

9 reviews, 66 user ratings

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Hide and Seek
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by Elaine Perrone

"a/k/a Mr. Hyde and Sick."
1 stars

When White Noise opened in theatres a few weeks back, I was far more generous in reviewing it than many of my fellow critics, although even I deemed it only “average,” or 3/5. I cited in its favor what I felt was a nicely understated performance by Michael Keaton and a deft touch by its BBC-trained director Geoffrey Sax. On the deficit side, for me, was a script seriously ridden with plot holes that detracted from what could have been a fascinating premise. Bottom line was, although I found White Noise to be far from the best of the thriller genre, I opined that I had seen – and expected to see – far worse. There will be no “I told you so” as I sadly report that “far worse” has indeed arrived, just three weeks later, in the form of Hide and Seek, a thoroughly nasty, exploitative, and derivative piece of dreck that squanders the talents of a fine cast and makes White Noise look like Masterpiece Theatre, in comparison.

I can find no fault whatsoever with the performances of Robert De Niro, Amy Irving, Elisabeth Shue, Famke Janssen, Dylan Baker, Melissa Leo, and young Dakota Fanning, who soldier on bravely with the hands they’ve been dealt. The fault lies entirely with neophyte Ari Schlossberg’s script, a shameless ripoff of The Shining and Secret Window (Stephen King should sue, for royalties!), and the ham-handed direction of John Polson (Swimfan, which should tell you something), who seems never to have met a cliché he didn’t like.

Everything – and I mean everything – about Hide and Seek is utter bullshit. In the mitts of Schlossberg and Polson, every person, place, and set-piece is the cinematic equivalent of a kitchen scrap exhumed from the back of the refrigerator, all thrown together to concoct a big pot of "garbage stew."

The nonsense starts with the apparent suicide of De Niro's wife (Irving). (Sorry, I can't be arsed to remember any of the characters' names.) When his daughter (Fanning) is rendered catatonic by the tragedy, De Niro moves the two of them, against the advice of the little girl's psychologist (Janssen), from their digs on Central Park West to a remote mansion in upstate New York.

I should mention that The Mansion really deserves a character billing in its own right, being what appears to be about 6,000 square feet (for the two of them!) of carefully set-designed nooks and crannies with an ominous cellar below and a watery cave out back. A teakettle boils and outdoor lanterns sway menacingly, curtains billow from an open window that has mysteriously become unstuck, scary closets loom, dolls are mutilated, and clocks mark the time 2:06 a.m. – details that go nowhere.

Also going nowhere are the red-herring characters of Dylan Baker as a sheriff whose only purpose seems to be to utter the laughable line, "Nothin' scary in these woods," and Melissa Leo (Homicide: Life on the Street, 21 Grams) as the grieving wife of a suspicious neighbor.

Completely wasted are the talents of Janssen as Fanning's psychologist, who is relegated to delivering Psych 101 platitudes like, "Trauma causes pain. Eventually the mind will learn how to release it.," and Shue as De Niro's budding romantic interest – a character any savvy moviegoer knows is doomed from the minute she appears onscreen.

Faring worst of all are poor little Dakota Fanning as the traumatized girl who must deal not only with the crushing loss of her mother but with a menacing "friend" named Charlie who may or may not be a figment of her imagination, and Robert De Niro as her brain-numbingly inept psychologist father. Still, it's one thing for a writer to create an adult character – who is supposed to be a mental-health professional, no less – who seems incapable of making a sound decision. It is quite another thing – and comes across as sickeningly exploitative – for that writer to manipulate the character of an otherwise obviously intelligent child so as to make her consistently respond to life-threatening danger in ways that are counter-intuitive to her own self-protection. Having to watch Fanning act out the role turns what would otherwise have been simply a laughable potboiler into a movie that makes for really quite unpleasant viewing.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11471&reviewer=376
originally posted: 01/27/05 19:32:40
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User Comments

10/29/16 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
1/12/09 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
8/05/07 ravenmad So full of holes it ain't a joke, no sense, no direction~ Thank god for the library! 1 stars
6/19/07 Muted Orbz Watch Deniro ruin the hard work of a talented little girl. 3 stars
4/30/07 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
12/14/06 Stanley Thai A really great thriller. Good acting. 4 stars
9/18/06 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
5/22/06 Sophia D. It was good. But it was confusing. 4 stars
5/16/06 Jackie AMAZING! 5 stars
5/06/06 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
4/08/06 Anastasya Thank you for being generous with your resources... I hope that you will receive more than 5 stars
3/07/06 Jin Really effective thriller. One of the best 4 stars
3/01/06 Bill Greetings to all! Excuse for this message, but at you excellent design of a site! Very much 2 stars
11/08/05 michael good movie until the last 15 minutes 3 stars
10/25/05 Ellie Harrington This movie made me very dissapointed and saddened that such talent was wasted completely 1 stars
10/03/05 Michael Blower Don't understand the negative comments. Good film admit it, you don't have to be sheep 4 stars
9/27/05 tatum Sad to sit through a two hour movie after figuring it out the first ten minutes 2 stars
9/08/05 John bad script worse direction - and worst of all NOT scary 1 stars
8/29/05 ES Dakota Fanning scares me more than De Niro does, devil child 2 stars
8/19/05 Sara B. In a world awash in bad suspense films, this one isn't completely without merit. 3 stars
7/27/05 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
7/23/05 alaina I think is so stupid that you can pick 4 different endings on the dvd... I 3 stars
7/21/05 Jordan secret wondow remake if u ask me secret window was better 1 stars
7/13/05 Lauren Don't waste your time, as I just did. 1 stars
7/13/05 Indrid Cold Builds suspense pretty well up until the twist, but is sleep-inducing after that. 3 stars
7/09/05 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
6/30/05 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
5/23/05 tristan cool 5 stars
3/04/05 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
2/24/05 Comixchick This had the audience laughing out loud! Dumb, dumb, dumb... 1 stars
2/18/05 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
2/14/05 Christine Dakota Fanning was excellent 4 stars
2/14/05 Joy Simply showing the fanning freak should have been scary enough. 1 stars
2/12/05 John Bale Sixth Sense collides with The Shining, and makes no sense. Spooky Fanning saves the show. 4 stars
2/09/05 Colleen Goldrick Just Hide 2 stars
2/06/05 Anthony T This film is clever and performances are great! Critics "the ending was a copout" NONSENSE! 4 stars
2/06/05 kumar crap crap crap crap crap 1 stars
2/05/05 Cassandra Farrar good idea...bad movie 2 stars
2/05/05 me A great film 5 stars
2/01/05 Steve Michaud A vile, reprehensible film that exploits child psychological abuse for cheap thrills 1 stars
2/01/05 whatevr the only hiding I will do is from this movie 1 stars
2/01/05 Tammera Mack dumb 1 stars
1/31/05 Danita Berg Great until the end. The twist wasn't such a twist. 3 stars
1/31/05 Lynda Eby Expected much more. De Niro let me down! 3 stars
1/31/05 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
1/29/05 Casey Tells good movie 5 stars
1/29/05 Garnet Leib Sucks 1 stars
1/29/05 Marilyn pathetic movie 2 stars
1/28/05 me A great film 5 stars
1/28/05 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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