Hide and Seek
is a 2005 psychological thriller starring Robert De Niro
and a then relatively-unknown Dakota Fanning.
This film is about a psychiatrist named David Callaway, who moves to upstate New York with his daughter, Emily, following the suicide of her mother. While settling into their new home, Emily begins conversing with an imaginary friend named Charlie, while at the same time becoming close to a neighbouring couple who lost their own daughter to cancer.
Emily's irrational behaviour starts to worry David, and things come to a head when a woman he has befriended named Elizabeth is killed while she is playing with Emily. Emily blames the murder on Charlie. David confronts his neighbour, believing him to be "Charlie", and drives him away.
However, a plot twist is soon revealed: David IS Charlie. Charlie formed when David caught his wife cheating on him. In one night, David, under the Charlie personality, murdered his wife and made it look like she committed suicide. Of course, this means that David has also murdered Elizabeth. After discovering that he is responsible, Charlie takes him over for good, saying "It's okay. Daddy's gone now".
This film contains examples of:
- Broken Bird: Emily
- Cat Scare
- Creepy Basement
- Cheerful Child: Amy at least until Emily wrecks her doll.
- Creepy Child: Emily.
- Creepy Children Singing: During the end credits.
- Creepy Doll: Several after Emily trashes them.
- Daddy's Girl: Averted. Emily is cold or hostile towards David throughout the film. Even at the beginning of the film before she is traumatized, Emily seems closer to her mother.
- Dull Surprise: What some critics have accused De Niro of doing as David. As Charlie, not as much.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Emily.
- The End... Or Is It?: At the end of the movie in the US release, after David/Charlie dies, Emily is shown at her foster home drawing a picture before going to school. Happy Ending, right? Well, the picture is of her with two heads, implying she has developed an alternate personality too.
- In an alternate ending, Emily has been sent to a mental ward for observation. After Katherine tucks her in and leaves, Emily gets out of bed and starts looking for something. When she opens a closet door and says, "There you are," the camera then shows Emily staring at herself in a mirror with a slightly demonic smile.
- There are in fact five different endings. The third one shows her at the foster home and her drawing is completely normal, showing that she's fine. The fourth one has her being tucked by Katherine but then showing she's in the ward (different ending from the one mentioned above). And a fifth one has her in a completely different altogether foster home, playing with her reflection.
- Expy: to Norman Bates in Psycho. They're protagonists, they fight antagonists not shown to us, they discover that they themselves are the antagonists, and they succumb to their evil personalities.
- Jekyll & Hyde: David and Charlie
- Ironic Nursery Tune: The theme song "Hide and Seek."
- Jump Scare: When Katherine reaches for the presumably dead sheriff's gun he grabs her arm.
- Kick the Dog: Emily's cat.
- Mind Screw: In the same vein as Psycho.
- Lonely Doll Girl: Emily, although she abruptly turns anti-doll once Charlie becomes her friend.
- Lovecraft Country: Averted. The creepy neighbours and sherrif in this strangely underpopulated small town turn out to be harmless and/or concerned about Emily.
- Missing Mom
- Mistaken for Pedophile: Steve, when he is seen by David chatting with Emily. However, he is only drawn to Emily because she reminds him of his deceased daughter.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: In one of the endings.
- Nosy Neighbor: Steve who comes to suspect that David is endangering Emily.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Charlie
- Ominous Music Box Tune: The music box Katherine gives Emily is seen floating in the flooded cave at the end of the film.
- Police Are Useless: After getting a call from a worried neighbor, the sheriff shows up with at the Callowways without back-up and is soon knocked out with a shovel by Charlie.
- Psychopathic Man Child: Charlie. David makes one comment about wanting "Emily to have a better childhood than he did", so his childhood issues probably are what makes his Charlie personality so dementedly childish.
- Split Personality Takeover: "It's okay. Daddy's gone now."
- The Killer In Me
- There Are No Therapists: There are several therapists, but it doesn't help at all actually.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Emily seems happy and well adjusted in the scenes before she sees her mother's bodied corpse in the bathtub.