Horror flick’s scariest character is not always visible

Can the actor who gave us Johnny Boy, Travis Bickle, Jake La Motta and the young Vito Corleone deliver the same punch in his new psychological thriller “Hide and Seek?” No, not really. However, Robert De Niro does try his best in what seems to be one of his more challenging recent roles.

In “Hide and Seek,” De Niro plays a successful psychologist, David Callaway, and is the father of a troubled little girl, Emily (Dakota Fanning), who is traumatized by the violent death of her mother, Alison (Amy Irving). In order to help his daughter recover from her trauma, Callaway decides to move her to a secluded village in upstate New York for a change of scenery, against the wishes of his friend and child psychologist Katherine (Famke Janssen), who advises him that Emily still needs extensive treatment.

While in their new home in upstate New York, they are surrounded by many suspicious characters that are sure to give the audience the creeps. The most suspicious character of all though seems to be Emily’s new imaginary friend, Charlie. Emily is really fond of Charlie and begins to play hide-and seek, a game she used to enjoy playing with her mother. Only with Charlie, the game has more creepy connotations.

So who is Charlie? Is he really an imaginary character? These are questions that you will be asking yourself and others around you during the entire movie until the big twist comes in the end that will leave you saying, “Oh, that’s Charlie.”

The actors in the movie do an exceptional job, especially the two main characters, De Niro and Fanning, who complement each other well. Ten-year old Fanning is not a new kid on the block in Hollywood; in fact, she has starred in several movies, including, “Man on Fire,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “I Am Sam.” De Niro, perhaps one of the greatest actors of our time, has starred in such hit movies as “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Goodfellas,” “The Untouchables” and “Meet the Parents,” just to name a few.

“Hide and Seek,” had a strong debut in its opening weekend, taking in $22 million on a weekend that is more notable for box-office gains made by the movies nominated for Academy Awards.

Definitely see “Hide and Seek” in the movie theatre, as it is this year’s newest horror flick. I saw the movie on opening night in a sold-out theater and there were people screaming and gasping throughout the entire movie. Emily is sure to scare you with her pale skin, drunken eyes and mysterious actions. As for Charlie, I can’t give that part away, but trust me, your time won’t be wasted going to see this film.