Charlie Says Peek a Boo
Following the apparent suicide of his wife, psychologist Dr. David Callaway (Robert De Niro - Meet the Fockers) decides it would be best for him and his daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning - Dreamer) should move away from the city to start afresh far from the memories in their apartment. Understanding that his wife's death left Emily traumatized he isn't too surprised when she starts playing with an imaginary friend she calls Charlie. But Emily's behaviour gets progressively worse and David becomes concerned when strange messages start to appear on walls at night and calls in help in the form of friend and fellow psychologist Dr. Katherine Carson (Famke Janssen - X-Men 2). When a neighbour who David is keen on ends up dying he has to find out what is going on with Emily and Charlie.
The trouble with watching and reviewing lots of movies is not burnout but the simple fact you become far too clued in to movies. As such "Hide and Seek" ended up becoming one of those tick box movies for me, putting a check next to a list of must haves for a creepy movie. And there is no denying "Hide and Seek" ticks a whole lot of boxes in an effective way but it also makes it all incredibly familiar.
So what are those marks that it makes; well right away we have the remote new home which as we learn is in a town which is mainly a summer community which means with it not being summer the house looks quite cold and bleak. We also have the child whose behaviour is creepy especially with an imaginary friend and I have to say that Dakota Fanning does a fantastic job of making Emily unsettling with those huge eyes which seem to stare right into your soul, conveying more than words do. On the subject of creepy we also have the curious locals who we meet especially the local sheriff played by Dylan Baker who is an expert at playing the quirky sort of character with a dark side. Baker is not the only one as Melissa Leo also does a good job of playing a curious, dark character. And then there are the moments of horror, the creepy messages on mirrors and mutilated dolls. As I said it ticks a lot of boxes but does so in an efficient and solid manner.
But here is the thing and maybe it is only an issue which comes from having watched so many movies. When you have an actor of the calibre of Robert De Niro starring in a movie do you just have him playing just a concerned father? If you do it is a waste of talent and whilst you may have other very good actors such as Dylan Baker, Elisabeth Shue and Famke Janssen in the movie it doesn't distract you from that feeling that De Niro's role in the movie must be much bigger than it appears. Although this makes it obvious that De Niro's initial character is a cover he also plays him very well and it is a pleasure to see him taking on a serious role rather than just another clown in a comedy.
What this all boils down to is that "Hide and Seek" is a solid thriller/ horror movie which ticks a lot of boxes and will probably entertain the casual movie fan. But not only is that all it does it is also a movie which in a peculiar ways suffers because of the calibre of its star.