What is Robert De Niro thinking? The question is being posed not with condescension or derision – though that’s probably how it sounds – but with curiosity and concern. When he makes a movie like “Hide and Seek,” essentially a B-horror flick with the benefit of a high-quality cast, is he doing it for a change of pace? Certainly the first two-thirds of this generically titled thriller are engrossing enough, chock full of good, old-fashioned scary movie images and ideas. De Niro plays a New York City psychologist who takes his daughter (Dakota Fanning) to a dinky town upstate after the suicide of his wife (Amy Irving).

He hopes she’ll come out of her frequently stoic state to make new friends. She already has: His name is Charlie, and he’s presumably imaginary. Then the bodies start piling up, and the weakness of the script really comes to a head. Rated: R for frightening sequences and violence. Rating: 1 1/2 out of 4 stars.

– Christy Lemire, AP movie critic


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