Hide and Seek (2005) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: John Polson
Producers: Barry Josephson
Writers: Ari Schlossberg
Date Released: January 28, 2005
Robert De Niro as David Callaway
Dakota Fanning as Emily Callaway
Framke Janssen as Katherine
Elisabeth Shue as Elizabeth
Dylan Baker as Sheriff Hafferty
Melissa Leo as Laura
Robert Burke as Steven
Amy Irving as Alison Callaway
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Following his wife’s suicide, David (Robert De Niro) decides to move to upstate New York with his young daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) to leave the past behind. Soon after, Emily makes an imaginary friend whom she calls “Charlie”. David then begins to experience strange things happening around their new home which makes him think that Emily is blaming him for her mother’s death, but Emily always tells him that it was Charlie who did it. When the death of another woman traces back to his home, David seeks answers for himself, and that’s when he finally meet Charlie.
Hide and Seek (2005) is a psychological thriller which focuses more, of course, on psychological approach rather than gore. However, expect to see a bathtub full of blood, a drowned cat, a wounded policeman, and a couple of dead bodies. These gore scenes will not make you cringe or look away, they are just included merely for a purpose of making the story more plausible. What’s going to give you chills is the building tension that the plot has in store for you. There isn’t enough gore to fill your desires of bloodlust, but if you’re looking for something more that creeps into your mind, then this film is a must-try.
The Grave Review
Hide and Seek (2005) directed by John Polson is one of the box office hits during that time. Despite earning millions, this film received criticisms on being illogical and derivative. True enough, there are other films which resemble the story of Hide and Seek, like Secret Window (2004) and A Beautiful Mind (2001). Having watched films with protagonist being the bad guy in the end, then watching a film alike cannot be considered a twist anymore but rather an expectation.
Cinematically wise, the film is an absolute beauty. Bringing out the creepy atmosphere at every corner, it also holds one of the biggest rules in the world of cinematography, and that is to convey emotions that the scene holds, which has been perfectly done by Hide and Seek. Looking at the scene where David came to a realization that he is in fact “Charlie”, flashbacks floods his mind. The emotions he is feeling in this particular time can be described as “fast and scattered”, thus the shadows casted on his face during this scene is moving fast and all over the place.
Another element that saved this film from being a flop are the actors. With names widely known in Hollywood, Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning surely did not disappoint. Anticipate a roller coaster of emotions jumping from one character to another throughout the film. Dakota Fanning (Emily) was even nominated for Best Actress Award after showcasing such talent at a young age. Even so, the scene where I nearly cried is led by Melissa Leo, who portrayed the role of Laura, David’s neighbor who just lost a daughter from cancer. Leo made an outstanding performance wherein she perfectly depicted a mother’s grief for her deceased child, and somehow makes you think how unfathomable a mother’s love truly is.
The main problem of this film however, is that people expected the ending. As mentioned earlier, many critics have tagged it as derivative, therefore concluding that it has similarities with past psychological thrillers and people were disappointed that their expectations are correct. Although it’s a relief that there are no spiritual or supernatural beings involved, it would’ve been better if the twist is not just revealing that David and Charlie are the same person. Hide and Seek has become one of the long list of films which tried and tried to build tension and achieving so little in the end. Also, there are so many events that are unexplained such as the strange behavior of the landlord, Mr. Haskins, wherein he slips a key on David’s doorstep at the wee hours of the night, and why people keep telling David that he has a beautiful daughter, which made me think that this has something to do with the story, but apparently I was just left confused.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Hide and Seek (2005) three graves out of five graves
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