Hide and Seek

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Hide and Seek Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Older teens may enjoy; too creepy for kids.
  • R
  • 2005
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 31 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Intense peril and violence, characters killed, grisly and explicit images, suicide, on-screen murder, child threatened, references to child's death, intense peril, atmospheric creepiness, cruelty to animals.


Reference to marital infidelity.


Mild for an R.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, prescription medication.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a very scary movie with intense peril and upsetting deaths. For those who have dealt with loss, the killer, "Charlie" will be especially disturbing since he wins Emily as a friend when she most needs someone to help her. Issues of trust and the suffering of main characters, including a child, are themes in this movie. Relationships are strained by inability of characters to handle trauma. There is social drinking, infidelity, and implied psychological spousal abuse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydvdgirl March 7, 2020

Not bad

I thought it was good . I like movies like this.
Adult Written byjack1432 January 24, 2016

12 and over

scary movie horror and thriller for 12 and over
Kid, 0 years old August 9, 2019

Really scary

This movie is super scary... a lot of violence. It scared the heck out of me, I was scared.
Teen, 17 years old Written byT J May 8, 2018

What's the story?

In this atmospheric thriller, widower Dr. David Callaway (Robert De Niro) moves his daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) to a woodsy town in upstate New York to help her escape the memories of his wife's suicide. In Woodland, they meet the local police officer, the jumpy real estate agent, and a married couple who live next door, trying to cope with the recent loss of their daughter, who was Emily's age. David reaches out to child psychiatrist Katherine (Famke Jannson), who is the understanding adult trying to help Emily and coach David through the grieving process. Emily starts talking about all the fun games she is playing with "Charlie," her imaginary friend. The disfigured dolls, scrawled threats, and dead cat that follow alarm David enough to leave his study, where he spends most of the day. Emily's strange drawings hint that Charlie might be positioning himself to be Emily's only friend, and the mysterious death that follows finally drives father and daughter to action. To say anything more would make Charlie very, very angry.

Is it any good?

HIDE AND SEEK features strong acting, and the film's quiet scenes are more terrifying than on-screen mayhem. Most of the movie comprises a slow but steady-paced thriller with the camera drinking in little Emily's eerie stare and propensity for standing in the doorway whenever something spooky is happening. The last twenty minutes of the movie will satisfy audiences looking for a cathartic terror and a good twist. For some jaded audiences, however, the ending might seem self-conscious, forced, and dragged-out, especially when Charlie's secret is revealed.

Robert De Niro gives a solid but uninspired performance, and Dakota Fanning does a lovely job in this movie, out-acting the grown-ups with breathtaking grace and dignity. She genuinely seems to break, well, just like a little girl during the big showdown.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Emily did not feel like she could talk about her emotions directly and what other characters might have done to let Emily know she was not alone. What does the last picture that we see on-screen mean about Emily and about the future?

Movie details

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