Hide and Seek cant find its way to a plot

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Hide and Seek is a silly exercise on bad horror films that starts promisingly enough, but quickly erodes into a movie that has more laughs than thrills.

The film stars Robert De Niro as David, a New York psychiatrist who moves with his daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) upstate after the suicide of his wife (Amy Irving).

David thinks the shift to the country will be a nice change for Emily, still coping with the loss of her mother. Soon, Emily starts to talk of an imaginary friend named Charlie a friend responsible for some disturbing occurrences (lets just say when a film like this has a cat, you know it cant be a good thing).

De Niro and Fanning actually work well together and for a while manage to at least keep Hide and Seek interesting. There are a few familiar faces in supporting roles including Elisabeth Shue, Irving, and Dylan Baker that manage to keep the interest level mild.

But none are able to save Hide and Seek from its huge shortcomings.

Director John Polson knows how to photograph scary settings, but his direction is much like his work in his previous film Swimfan strictly by-the-numbers, with nothing new to add to the material.

The biggest problem with Hide and Seek is Ari Schlossbergs screenplay. The promising start eventually begins to spin out of control, with a ton of red herrings and a payoff that just felt lazy.

Perhaps most perplexing about Hide and Seek was the decision by 20th Century Fox to not ship out the final reel to theaters until the last minute to keep the films twist a secret.

Heres a couple of spoilers for you the twist stinks and it actually comes in the next-to-last reel, only adding to the stupidity of 20th Century Foxs decision.

By the time Hide and Seek does get to that final reel, its nothing more than your assembly-line horror film one that will easily be forgotten by the time the calendar flips to March.

Discount dandy (?) of the week

Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie (C) may not be the greatest film in rotation right now, but you could do a lot worse (cough! Racing Stripes cough!).

The first feature film adapted from the wildly popular childrens television series follows Spongebob and his friend Patrick Star on a quest to find King Neptunes stolen crown. Along the way the duo meet up with unsavory characters, a princess who is eager to assist them with their quest, and David Hasselhoff (in perhaps one of the most disturbing cameos in the history of animation).

As a TV series, Spongebob has proven to be quite entertaining in 30-minute doses. Stretching the running time to 90 minutes doesnt help raise the level of appreciation, though. It doesnt help that the film just looks like something that could have easily gone straight to video.

Still, Spongebob Squarepants does manage to be colorful with a few laughs although children younger than 10 will probably find it much more entertaining than their parents.

Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie is playing at the Plaza 6, where all movies are $1.50.

Sportswriter/movie critic Micheal Compton isnt the type to spoil a movies ending, but if you ask nicely and offer large sums of cash, he may just be willing. E-mail him at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.  Daily News ·813 College St. ·PO Box 90012 ·Bowling Green, KY ·42102 ·270-781-1700 

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