Hide and Seek is a psychological thriller that dangles over the edge of awfulness a full 90 minutes before toppling in with a resounding clatter. Robert De Niro is an NYC-based child psychologist who moves with his daughter, Emily (Dakota Fanning), to the wooded hills of upstate New York after the suicide of his wife sends the traumatized tot to Bedlam with a permanent thousand-yard stare. Once there, however, Emily begins spending time with invisible friend Charlie, who may or may not be the source of all the latent rage in the house.
Director John Polson helmed the equally oddballSwimfan awhile back, another psychological rattletrap that never bothered to fine-tune its lunatic underpinnings.Hide and Seek is a more ambitious affair, chockablock with weird moments that leave you thinking that this could be a keeper. He pulls the hair-raiser strings fairly well for the first two acts, as Emily mopes around the house with a creepy smile and bad attitude straight out ofThe Bad Seed, drawing pictures of people dying and shadowy black figures emerging from her closet. It all falls apart at the end, however, and in such a loud and abrasive way that it makes Brian De Palma'sRaising Cain look like a model of restraint.