Hide and Seek
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Hide and Seek can be found here.

No. The movie is an original script and story written by Ari Schlossberg.

What is this movie about?

After his wife's suicide, New York psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro) decides to move with his 9-year old daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) to the small summer community of Woodland in upstate New York in order to give them a fresh start. Shortly after moving into their new house, Emily begins to talk about her new friend Charlie. Being that there is no one else in the house, David assumes that Charlie is Emily's imaginary friend. When "Charlie" starts committing some horrific acts, like killing the family's pet cat and crayoning threatening words on the walls, David begins to suspect that "Charlie" might actually be either Emily or the next door neighbor, Steven (Robert John Burke).

Hide and Seek refers to the children's game in which one person tries to find one or more other persons who have hidden themselves somewhere. Emily plays the game with Charlie.

Most viewers suppose that 2:06 A.M. is either the time that David's wife, Alison (Amy Irving), died or possibly the time that David discovered her body lying in the bloody bathtub after slitting her wrists. In addition, when David asks the whereabouts of Elizabeth, Emily points to the bathroom while holding her toy clock that also reads 2:06. A few viewers have even noticed that the population of Woodland, as seen on the "Welcome to Woodland" sign as David and Emily first drive through the town, is 2,206.

That's difficult to say. Most viewers think that she met him on move-in day when she wandered off into the woods and found a cave. In fact, Emily herself says that she first met Charlie on that day. There is also the suggestion that she may have become indirectly aware of Charlie's presence before that time, as Emily was already sullen, withdrawn, and wary around strangers on the day they arrived at their new home in Woodland. Her sullenness and withdrawal can also be explained as a normal reaction to the trauma of her mother's death.

Steve and Laura (Melissa Leo)'s daughter recently died from cancer at about the same age as Emily. Laura explained to David that her husband was having a hard time dealing with it, and Emily reminded him of their daughter.

Three suggestions have been offered for why Emily would purposely disfigure the face of Amy (Molly Grant Kallins)'s doll, Penelope. Some viewers feel that she did it out of dislike for Amy's aunt Elizabeth (Elisabeth Shue), because Elizabeth was getting too close to David and trying to take her mother's place. Others think she did it in order to frighten Amy into staying away so that Charlie wouldn't hurt her. The third possibility is that Emily was displaying the pathological side of herself.

Presumably for the same reasons that she disfigured the face of Amy's doll. She wanted to scare Elizabeth away. She says that Charlie told her that her dad liked Elizabeth as much as he liked Alison, and she feared that Elizabeth was getting too close to David. Consequently, she tried to scare Elizabeth away by acting macabre. When Elizabeth simply told her that she looked dressed up and beautiful, Emily went to plan B and began talking about how her mother committed suicide and how she hopes that the same thing doesn't happen to Elizabeth.

Does Emily like Charlie?

At first, Emily seems to like him. She is protective of him and doesn't want David or anyone else to know about him. She likes playing hide-and-seek with him and tells Katherine (Famke Janssen) that she and Charlie even have a private game, the goal being to upset her father. As Charlie's misdeeds begin to pile up, however, Emily becomes more and more afraid of him, such that she calls Katherine on the phone and tells her that she doesn't want to be with Charlie anymore and that she's afraid her father cannot protect her from him.

She doesn't tell him because "Charlie" makes it clear that he does not like David. Most likely, she was worried about her father's safety and what would happen to him if she told the truth.

Charlie had what is known in psychology as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). DID/MPD is not, as some believe, the same as schizophrenia. Although the word schizophrenia comes from two Greek words meaning "split mind", there is only one personality involved in schizophrenia, unlike in Charlie's case where two distinct personalities live within the same individual, oftentimes one of them is not even aware of the existence of the other. The cause of DID/MPD is unknown, but one theory is that it is the mind's way of dealing with severe abuse as a child. The mind may tend to "compartmentalize" various memories and emotions so that they become hidden within various personalities, and the individual doesn't have to consciously deal with them.

That's an old American lullaby known variously as Hush, Little Baby and Mockingbird. The first line goes like this: Hush, little baby, don't say a word, Daddy's (sometimes Momma's) gonna buy you a mockingbird. The author and date of origin are unknown.

How does the movie end?

David finally figures out that Charlie is himself. 'Charlie' is David's murderous and psychotic alter-ego or other personality having emerged after he caught his wife cheating on him. Under the personality of 'Charlie', David later murdered his unfaithful wife by suffocating her, then placed her body in the bathtub, and slit her wrists in order to make it look like suicide. The minute David learns the truth, 'Charlie' emerges and fully takes over his mind. It is clear from this point onward that David no longer exists. When Sheriff Hafferty (Dylan Baker) arrives, having been called by the neighbors due to the disturbance in the yard, Charlie kills him and hauls the body into the basement, while Emily watches. He then begins to count down as for playing hide-and-seek, and Emily runs off to hide, just as Katherine arrives. Charlie pushes Katherine down the basement stairs where she sees Hafferty's body. Then Charlie goes after Emily with a butcher knife. Emily locks herself in her bedroom, climbs out a window, and runs to hide in the cave. Katherine, now armed with Hafferty's revolver, hears Charlie calling for Emily and follows his voice to the cave. Charlie and Katherine struggle, until Emily asks Charlie not to hurt her because Katherine is her friend. When Charlie turns on Emily, Katherine fires two shots into him, killing him for good. In the final scene, days or even weeks later, Emily has returned to New York. She is sitting at the dining table drawing a picture of herself and Katherine. Katherine tells her that they have to leave, so Emily finishes her drawing, puts on her backpack, and they walk out the door. The camera pans back to the drawing, and it can be seen that Emily has added an extra head to her own body.

Yes. There are four alternate endings on the DVD released in the U.S. In one ending, Emily's drawing in the final scene has only one head. In ending #2, Katherine is putting Emily to bed. As Katherine leaves the bedroom, Emily asks her to leave the door open, but Katherine says that she cannot. As the door closes and Katherine locks it, it is evident that Emily's bedroom is actually a hospital room in a psychiatric ward. Ending three is the same as ending # with a scene added where Emily does a hide-and-seek count down, goes to the closet and smiles at her reflection in the mirror. Ending #4 is similar to the psych ward ending except that Emily is in her real bedroom. After Katherine leaves the room, Emily does the hide-and-seek count down with her own reflection in the mirror.

No. Fanning has confirmed in press junket interviews and on the DVD's special features that she wore a brown wig during filming.

Viewers have recommended several movies with twist endings similar to Hide and Seek, including The Shining (1980), The Dark Half (1993), and Secret Window (2004), all three from a stories by Stephen King, and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Also recommended have been Raising Cain (1992), Fight Club (1999), Memento (2000), Identity (2003),Thr3e (2006), and The Uninvited (2009). Movies that deal specifically with real cases of DID/MPD include The Three Faces of Eve (1957) in which a woman discovers that she has three distinct personalities, and Sybil (1976) in which a woman develops at least 13 different personalities. Any of the various movie versions of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941) might also qualify.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 10 months ago
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