Psychologists have the power to both heal and create their patients’ problems.
John Polson’s horror film, “Hide and Seek,” centers around the concept that even the most closed-off individual’s mind will eventually release all the pain incurred during a traumatic event.
Psychoanalysis attempts to find the cause of emotional strain through implications found in actions and dreams. Similarly, director Polson tries to find his film’s meaning through several strung-together psychoanalytical events.
This idea of using psychoanalysis to explain the events of a movie isn’t new. In fact, nothing in “Hide and Seek” feels all that new.
David Callaway, played by Robert De Niro, abruptly wakes from a dream at 2:06 a.m. to find his wife’s lifeless body in the bath tub.
Emily, Callaway’s daughter, witnesses the discovery of her dead mother and is traumatized accordingly. Emily becomes the epitome of a really creepy, closed-off child.
This isn’t such a surprise, though. Children are always creepy in horror films.
After he finds his wife’s body, Callaway packs up his Volvo station wagon and moves upstate with his daughter to a secluded community whose residents are mostly gone for the season.
Although Callaway admits that he’s “always been afraid of the woods,” and although he knows his daughter is clearly in need of some new friends and happiness, somehow he thinks the isolated woodland environment is the best place for them.
Callaway’s plan works, though. Well, kind of. Emily quickly finds a friend beyond the shelves of her many antique dolls. Who or what this friend is, though, nobody knows.
“I have a new friend,” Emily confides. “He told me to call him Charlie.”
Intent with finding a quick fix for his daughter’s emotional problems, Callaway assumes that Charlie is a simple imaginary friend onto whom Emily projects her thoughts and emotions.
Although he knows he shouldn’t have a family member as a patient, psychologist Callaway is determined to find a way to get inside his daughter’s head. He begins to analyze
Emily’s behavior and her relationship with Charlie, hoping to figure out some way to communicate with his moody daughter.
Through the search of Charlie’s character, and after meeting his next-door neighbors, who have just lost a daughter, Callaway begins to learn more about both his daughter’s emotions and his own.
With a lead actor as experienced as De Niro and a child star who looks a little creepy even when she’s not in a scary movie, you’d think Polson would have been able to create some real scares.
It seems as if this year’s well-made horror film is still hiding in the closet.