The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Hide And Seek

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Judy Thorburn

Hide And Seek

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“HIDE AND SEEK” – FOUND TO BE A LITTLE ‘MISS’ LEADING

She’s not yet twelve years old, but child actress Dakota Fanning has accomplished something most adult actresses would die for. In her reasonably short lifetime she has already worked on screen opposite some of the biggest male stars in the business such as Oscar winners Sean Penn and Denzel Washington. And, if you have seen Dakota work, you know this young lady is all pro, able to hold her own against any formidable superstar she’s teamed with.  In Hide and Seek, the strong male force is none other than veteran actor Robert DeNiro, whose career has shifted gears in recent years to work  in comedies such as Analyze This (and…“That” sequel) and Meet The Fockers (and its sequel…the Parents.)  You would think that in returning to his dramatic roots he would at least pick a worthy role.  Sorry to say, Hide and Seek is way below his standards. It’s another case of good actors making bad choices.

But, although Hide and Seek is a disappointment on many levels, and I will get to that later, at least Dakota Fanning gets a chance to show another side to the adorable, precocious little miss she has played in the passed. Gone are those giggles and wide-eyed innocence of a happy child, replaced by a convincing eerie demeanor, and a wide-eyed vacant stare that more than suggests something terrifying is brewing.

And, something indeed is not right.  After being traumatized by the death of her mother’s (Amy Irving) apparent suicide in her parents’ upscale N.Y. apartment, young Emily’s father, psychologist David Callaway (DeNiro) decides to pack up and move what’s left of his family to a mansion in the woods of upstate Woodland, NY.  Of course, there is really no reason for just the two of them to move into this huge house except that it makes for a plot device where like zillions of other scary movies a secluded setting, long hallways, and a dark cellar have been a useful fear factor.

Anyway, before too long disturbing events starts happening. Threatening messages appear in blood on the bathtub curtain and walls, and (no surprise!) the pet cat winds up dead.  Emily (Fanning) insists she didn’t do it, but says her unseen friend for hide and seek, Charlie, is to blame.  Questions arise.  Is this Charlie a figment of a troubled child’s imagination, or is he an actual killer on the loose? And, what are with those nightmare dreams that awaken Emily’s dad every night at precisely 2:06am, the very same time Dr. Callaway found his wife dead in a bathtub full of blood?

Oh, I would love to go on describing the story, but to do so would be adding spoilers.  Suffice to say, if you are an avid film buff who has seen most psychological thrillers released in recent years you won’t find the “twist” ending to be much of as surprise, since it is far from original.

Warning – this next sentence MIGHT be a spoiler, depending upon what movies you’ve seen.  Hide and Seek is strikingly similar to a movie from last year starring Johnny Depp in a premise that was scarier and superior in all aspects of delivery. Hey, at least I didn’t say the name of the film.

Hide and Seek is filled with so many clichéd situations and red herrings, elements overused to the nth degree in so many movies of this genre.   What starts out as an absorbing well-paced mystery thriller unfortunately falls into the trappings of the typical slasher ending. There are cheap thrills along the way and scenes that don’t make sense, or are never explained.  When all is said and done, the result is more stupid than frightening.

The supporting cast consists of Elizabeth Shue as a divorcee who gets a little too close to Emily’s dad for her own good. What a wasted, forgettable role for a fine actress who makes a return to the screen after a four and a half year hiatus. It doesn’t help that the chemistry between DeNiro and Shue is zip, zero, nada. Others on hand are Melissa Leo and Robert John Burke as the mysterious married neighbors who recently lost a daughter that looked remarkably like Emily (how, coincidental!). Dylan Baker appears briefly as the town Sheriff and Famke Janssen, is a fellow shrink friend and colleague of Dr. Callaway, spewing occasional advice and words of wisdom such as “it is often normal for traumatized children to create imaginary friends”. Duh!

I wish Hide and Seek could have taken an intriguing premise and built it to a satisfying conclusion.  Unfortunately, unlike playing Hide and Seek, there isn’t much shock when the guessing game lacks surprise.