Hide and Seek

Heard this was another in the wave of remakes of Japanese horror hits, but I haven't seen the original if it is. 

Okay--we got Robert De Niro as the distraught husband/father and Dakota Fanning as the traumatized daughter--they're trying to recover from the ugly death of mother Amy Irving. So they move upstate. 

Everybody in their new town of Woodland acts weird. The daughter starts making disturbing drawings, caving in the skulls of dolls, and carrying on about her new friend "Charlie" while Dad has to deal with more and more horrible discoveries on a daily basis. ("Charlie did it! Charlie did it! Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!") Anyone who tries to become Dad's friend (or might it get more serious?) is made to feel very unwelcome for a start. And a flashback's building slowly. 

Oh yeah. They've got a cat. So it's NOT a spoiler to tell you two things. One, that the cat's going to go "RRREEOOWWWW!" as it jumps out of a closet to spook somebody. And two, that it does NOT have nine lives. 

Yeah, it's that predictable. It's over an HOUR before the first interesting thing happens. And the director plays it low key--apparently assuming that this is all fascinating, first-time ever material that's guaranteed to hook an audience. And what else could we expect? This is the guy who made SWIMFAN, for heaven's sake! And HE gets De Niro? Guess we can thank GODSEND for that... let's hope that the success of MEET THE FOCKERS spares De Niro any more of this nonsense. 

Too bad, too--because we finally reach a point where this could have been a crackerjack. Unfortunately, so much effort is spent trying to throw us off the trail that the film's credibility is shot by that point. Go back and think about all the odd and/or convenient behavior that's in evidence all over the place... and how almost none of it MEANS anything! 

Oh, boy, what a weekend. Encores from Mr. SWIMFAN and the HOUSE OF THE DEAD man himself. And this after WHITE NOISE. 

We are off to a bad start this year. A very, very bad start. But we've had those before, so I guess I still shouldn't quit.

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