Hide and Seek (2005)

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Released 21-Jun-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Alternative Version-Select Alternate Ending
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'
Alternate Ending-4, With Optional Filmmakers' Commentary
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Filmmakers' Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Previs Sequences
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 96:46
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Polson

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Robert De Niro
Dakota Fanning
Famke Janssen
Elisabeth Shue
Amy Irving
Dylan Baker
Melissa Leo
Robert John Burke
Molly Grant Kallins
David Chandler
Stewart Summers
Jake Dylan Baumer
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music John Ottman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Hide and Seek is yet another recent film to get a critical mauling on its theatrical release. I have on a number of other occasions reviewed and enjoyed films which fell into this category, such as Cold Creek Manor. This film is no exception - I found it an enjoyable and diverting hour and a half, effectively creepy and with a twist that I didn't pick. The acting from Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning is very good, both being convincing in their roles. I enjoyed Dakota's work in Man on Fire and she impresses me as really being a young actress rather than just a pretty face as so many child stars are. My main complaint about this film would be the silly ending, but as the DVD includes four other alternate ones, you can choose the one you prefer. Helpfully, the disc also allows you to choose to watch the whole film and then choose your ending with seamless branching.

    The story concerns a psychologist, David Callaway (Robert De Niro), whose wife, Alison (Amy Irving), kills herself in their family home. The grisly discovery of the body in the bath is witnessed by their young daughter, Emily (Dakota Fanning). After some psychological treatment by Katherine (Famke Janssen), a psychologist at the children's hospital and friend of David's, David decides to take her away from New York to live upstate in a small town in order to try to help her cope with her mother's death. Once in the small town they begin to meet some of the strange local characters and Emily starts to refer to her 'friend', Charlie, whom she has met but no-one else seems to be able to see. The strange local characters include a strange sheriff (Dylan Baker), neighbours who recently lost a child, Steven and Laura, and the creepy real estate agent, Mr Haskins. David also meets and becomes attracted to a local woman, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Shue). Strange things start to occur which seem to be related to Alison's suicide...and that's about all I can tell you without spoiling the story.

    I thought the film was well made and is the third feature by Australian actor/director John Polson after Siam Sunset & Swimfan. The locations in upstate New York help to add to the atmosphere with a sparseness and isolated feel which heightens the tension. The title refers to the fact that Emily says that she and Charlie play Hide-and-Seek together. The opening credits have a nice sense of foreboding to them and the cinematography is excellent. The film looks great. The score by John Ottman also adds to the creepiness. If you want to be picky, there are certainly some plot holes to be found, however this is an enjoyable thriller if you just ignore them and try not to think too much.

    If you are a fan of spooky psychological thrillers such as What Lies Beneath (although Hide and Seek is not as good as that film) this is well worth a look.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is very close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was also excellent which, considering the number of night time scenes, was great.

    The colour was wonderful, and was rich and solid throughout.

    The only artefact I noticed was one patch of aliasing on a car grille at 51:15.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read and perfectly matched to the spoken word.

    I did not notice the layer change during the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, and an English DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. I listened to the DTS track in full and did some comparisons to the Dolby Digital track. I did not notice a major difference between them although I felt that the mixing was superior on the DTS track from the perspective of the volume of dialogue versus effects.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by John Ottman is effectively creepy adding significantly to the feel of the movie.

    The surround speakers added some directional effects and generally created a very immersive sound field. They were well used considering the style of film.

    The subwoofer was nicely integrated and added some nice creepy rumblings and bass to the score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    On start-up the disc gives you a choice of either playing the film in its theatrical version or with one of four alternate endings. These endings are also available as separate extras, however this option allows you to choose the ending you prefer and have it seamlessly branched into the film. Personally, I preferred the third of them. I will detail the endings below in the extras. The menu itself was nicely designed, including music and motion.

Alternate Endings

    As well as being available via seamless branching you can also watch the alternate endings with or without commentary by the director, screenwriter and editor. There are some interesting ideas in these and some are better than the theatrical version. A quality extra and the commentary is also worth a listen. The endings included are:

Commentary - Director John Polson, Screenwriter, Ari Schlossberg & Editor, Jeffrey Ford

    A good quality commentary, especially for a Hollywood film. They discuss the genesis of the script, development, editing, technical details, some interesting anecdotes about De Niro, how Dakota & De Niro worked together and other stuff. They become more relaxed as they go on and this track is well worth a listen.

Deleted Scenes (18:43) 

    This section contains 14 scenes in total all of which have optional commentary. A number of the scenes just contain unnecessary exposition, however there are some interesting scenes with Elizabeth and David on a date, Emily and a babysitter (this one is probably worthy of a place in the film) and an interesting scene involving the Dylan Baker character, Sherrif Hafferty.

The Making of Hide and Seek (10:19)

    A pretty standard promotional making of, with interviews with main cast members (with the obvious exception of De Niro) and crew. Mostly they discuss how wonderful Dakota Fanning is and what a great director Polson is. There is also some discussion of set design and effects.

Previs Sequences (3:26)

    An interesting collection of 3 scenes which were written and storyboarded but not filmed. The storyboards are shown mixed in with footage from the film where they would have been placed. There is commentary from John Polson.


R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie has recently been re-released in Region 1 & 2 in the same format with the exception of NTSC/PAL differences. Let's call it a draw.


    An enjoyable psychological thriller without being the greatest film ever made, but certainly not deserving of the pasting it took from the critics.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The disc has a good collection of extras, mostly of good quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, July 25, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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