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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 Peter Sobczynski

"The least surprising ending since 'The Passion of the Christ'"
1 stars

A couple of days ago, I saw a press release issued by 20th Century Fox claiming that they were sending out prints of their new thriller “Hide and Seek” without the final reel attached–that portion of the film would be delivered to theaters at the last minute by armed guards in order to prevent the shocking secrets contained in the last twenty minutes from being bootlegged or revealed in advance on the Internet. If this announcement was 100% genuine, and somehow I have my doubts (considering that the publicist at the screening I attended had no idea what I was talking about), then it marks the biggest waste of money and man-hours at Fox since they gave the green-light to “Freddy Got Fingered” because not only is this one of the dumber thrillers in recent memory, it contains what may be the least surprising ending in a major American film since “The Passion of the Christ.”

Officially relinquishing his title as Greatest Living American Actor for good, Robert De Niro stars as David Callaway, a brilliant psychologist whose wife (Amy Irving) kicks off the story by committing suicide in the early hours of New Years Eve. (Apparently the switch from Dick Clark to Regis Philbin was too much for her.) After spotting her mother’s bloody corpse in the tub, David’s young daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) is instantly traumatized and becomes painfully withdrawn. Against the advice of a trusted family friend/child psychologist (Famke Janssen), David decides to take Emily out of Manhattan and moves to a small town in upstate New York that appears to be populated entirely by red herrings, including the dopey sheriff (Dylan Baker), the couple next door (Melissa Leo and Robert John Burke) who recently lost their own child and the creepy realtor (David Chandler) who waits until the wee hours of night to shove keys underneath the door.

. While David seems to be settling in, especially after befriending the hot new divorcee (a thoroughly wasted Elisabeth Shue), Emily still seems out of it until she begins talking to a new imaginary friend named Charlie. Before long, mysterious events begin to occur–windows magically open and close and unspeakable events begin transpiring in the bathtub–and while David naturally believes that they are the work of Emily working through the grief of her mother’s death, she claims that Charlie is responsible. As things become bloodier, David has to figure out whether Emily is indeed responsible, if there is indeed a flesh-and-blood Charlie or if there is a more supernatural explanation for what is happening.

But there I go, making the story seem more suspenseful than it really is. One of the astonishing things about “Hide and Seek” is how truly predictable it becomes. I can pretty much guarantee that if you haven’t already figured out the culprit just by reading what I have written so far, even the slowest of you will catch on before ten minutes have elapsed unless you have managed to miss every single thriller released in the last decade or so–and if that is the case, there is no reason why you should break that streak on this one. Perhaps director John Polson wanted to tell the most unoriginal story possible so that viewers would be able to notice all of the vastly superior films that he flat-out steals elements from in an effort to prod viewers into feeling something; I wasn’t even paying that much attention and I picked out bits from “Jaws,” “The Shining,” “Cape Fear,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Raising Cain” and “Repulsion.” I am certain that I could find even more on a second viewing but unless Uma Thurman invites me to the screening, that simply isn’t going to happen. (Even if she did, I think I might try steering her toward “Alone in the Dark” instead.)

In fact, the film deploys three cliches of the genre that are so hackneyed that I had hoped they had been long retired. There is the flashback to a traumatic event that gradually expands the more we see of it–unfortunately, since we catch on pretty quickly what it is going to reveal, it soon grows very tiresome. There is the constant usage of the nursery rhyme “Hush Little Baby,” a song which is only used nowadays in horror movies by directors looking for some cheap irony without making any real effort. (Can you remember the last time it was used in a film where it wasn’t meant to be “creepy”?) And we are even treated to the now-familiar final shot, after everything seems to be right with the world, where we get a look at a drawing that indicates that this is a false dawn and that new terror is right around the corner; without going into specifics, the drawing in question is so arbitrary and out of left field that I wasn’t sure whether it was meant to suggest that the artist was in need of therapy of Lenscrafters.

In fact, the only really shocking thing about “Hide and Seek” (which is supposed to be a thriller, after all) is the fact that such a crappy script managed to attract such a strong cast to make fools of themselves. Did they invest all their money in Krispy Kreme stock? Did they all bet large on the Cubs to make the World Series and need quick cash to cover their losses? Were they all such enormous fans of “Swimfan” that they just had to work with the man behind it? I couldn’t say, but the only one of the bunch who doesn’t completely embarrass herself is Dakota Fanning, who is actually quite effective in the part of the haunted Emily despite the general repulsiveness of the story surrounding her. Once again, she proves that she is a genuine actress despite her youth (she is still only 10) and not just an overly polished moppet being moved from point A to point B. Already, she has wiped the floor with the likes of Sean Penn and Denzel Washington and does the same to De Niro without even breaking a sweat. Of course, that achievement might have seemed a little more significant if there was any evidence that De Niro was doing anything beyond further squandering his credibility on a film that seems to have been chosen solely to ensure that “Godsend” would not be the lowest point of his career.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11471&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/28/05 01:22:29
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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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