Emily Callaway is a young girl who suffers from mental problems after her mother commits suicide by slashing her wrists in the bath. As a result, her father David decides that they should move to the peaceful, leafy surroundings of upstate New York to start afresh – despite reservations by Emily’s doctor Katherine.
While adapting to a new home Emily avoids overcoming her personal struggle as she develops an imaginary friend called Charlie. With Charlie’s help Emily soon develops disturbing and highly unusual traits and habits.
Apparently studio bosses were so concerned that Hide And Seek’s surprise’ climax would be revealed before it reached audiences that they actually had the final reel delivered separately to cinemas across the United States via security guards.
They needn’t have bothered – the perceptive viewer will quickly deduce the final outcome long before it arrives. With the rise of these so called ‘dark thrillers’, such as the equally laughable Secret Window and White Noise, audiences are now well versed in this territory. The film moves at a snail’s pace, and when the much heralded final reel arrives everything suddenly rushes ludicrously fast.
The peripheral characters including the, as always, very odd local Sheriff (Dylan Baker), Famke Janssen as the attractive doctor and recent divorcee Elisabeth Shue, who develops a liking for David, are used to not very good effect, as they are disposed after very little thought and effort.
As a great, legendary actor Robert DeNiro must be in serious need of financial assurance to accept this lacklustre film. Like the majority of his recent work Hide And Seek lacks the vicious bite and hard edge of his earlier pictures. However he does give a typically gripping performance, struggling with his daughter’s psychological issues. As the ending unfolds though, it quickly turns into a pantomime act.
Hide And Seek fails to shock and excite. It is a case where the trailer is actually more gripping that the feature – and that is very bad indeed.
This is a bland, at times boring and utterly stupid film that blatantly attempts to be something more than it is. As an abundance of intelligently dark and supernatural thrillers are being made in East Asia and distributed in the West (even their American remakes are surprisingly effective), Hide And Seek is nothing more than a dull routine thriller that is as scary and suspenseful as a Halloween episode of The Simpsons. The best thing you can do is hide from this tribe.