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Hide and Seek

Year: 2005
Director: John Polson
Cast: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Shue, Famke Janssen
Why, why didn't I see it coming? It was so obvious! I consider myself pretty intelligent with details but these twist endings always get me. That's why I love them so much. I wonder if the people who say they guessed it really have? I'm sceptical.

Anyway, in the finest tradition of the much maligned genre, Robert De Niro is a grieving widower and Dakota Fanning his spooky kid who have lost their mother/wife in a suicide and move to the typical movie house to try to get over it; huge, homey, beautiful from the outside but with too many nooks and crannies and too dark inside, and in an eternally autumnal landscape.

The kid, already acting strangely enough, starts acting stranger when nasty things start happening that she attributes to her imaginary friend, Charlie. Meanwhile, the father is trying to get their lives back in order, including receiving the support of an old colleague (Janssen) and the burgeoning romance with a local girl (Shue).

Unlike some movies with a big payoff, the action didn't seem to degenerate into B movie chase crap from then on, and I found the whole thing creepy and wholly satisfying. I can't understand why it got so panned, apart from De Niro's just having done another film with a similar premise and very similar style (Godsend).

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