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Hide and Seek w/Robert De NiroHide and Seek

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Shue, Robert John Burke, Famke Janssen and Amy Irving.
Directed by: John Polson

 


Bluntly speaking? Hide and Seek suffers from what I like to call, "Secret Window Flu." It is a completely mediocre script, inexplicably starring a major and genuine talent. In this case, Robert De Niro graces the lead role - a role anyone could have played…. okay not Tom Greene or David Spade, but you get my bitter drift.

Story goes…Mother and wife, Alison Callaway (Amy Irving), commits suicide. Obviously traumatized by such an event, her widowed psychologist husband Dr. David Callaway (Robert De Niro) and grieving daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning), move from New York's mean streets upstate to no-man's village, quietville, to start fresh.

The fine doctor has great expectations that a new home and environment will help his increasingly melancholy daughter accept the trauma and adjust to a motherless life. He wants to be involved in her life and help her to come to grips with her mother's untimely death and so on…he's a good fella.

Naturally, the move turns out to be the beginning of some awful adventure in horror. Well, a startle at least!

Their generic New England anti-Pepperidge Farm-ish neighbors come with spooky undertows of suspicion. The property - on a lake - has sinister off-shoots upon its coveted landscape, and the daughter has a new, possibly invisible, possibly subterranean, but obviously screw-loose "friend" named Charlie.

This new friend, Charlie doesn't like anyone around, especially daddy, and he has a big old anger management raging bull-ish issue.

Her father upon analyzing this strange and sudden fellow, thinks Charlie may be a manifestation of Emily's subconscious lashing out at him in regards to the mother's death - but then again there's all that tangible proof that Charlie actually lurks among them.

As dear Emily gets more Wednesday Addams-y, and even starts to sketch morbid family portraits involving blood and Gorey, er, gore, and mutilating members of her dolly family, dad starts to wonder if his daughter is slipping down the rabbit hole. Or is Charlie the cause of these sick shenanigans. Either way the doctor will discover the truth!

Whatever! This film is ultimately a waste of one's precious time. There are few legitimate scares. The little star, Dakota Fanning, is quite a little talent - and she excels in the "creepy kid with a secret" role. The rest of the folks involved are fine, but there's no draw here. The story's a tad dull and even the idea of watching a sixty-foot image of manlyberry von yumstruedel Robert De Niro, who hasn't done a truly scary film since Angel Heart, prance about the screen, isn't worth the dinero you'd have to shell out to see this clodhopper of a film.

Snack recommendation: Dinner en route to a nominated film you've yet to see.

 


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