Hide and seek



                  If you want to know the secret..you have to play the game


Widowed David and his daughter Emily, with whom he shares a troubled relationship, move after Emily's mother, Allison, commits suicide. David meets local woman Elizabeth and her niece, Amy, who is roughly the same age as Emily. Hoping to cultivate a new friendship for Emily, David sets up a play-date for her. The play-date is spoiled however when Emily cuts up the face of Amy's doll. Despite the unsuccessful play-date, David and Elizabeth hit it off, though Emily acts hostile towards her as well.

When a family friend, Katherine, comes to visit David and Emily, Emily reveals Charlie, her imaginary friend. Elizabeth later visits, hoping to make peace with Emily. When Emily tells her that she is playing hide-and-seek with Charlie, Elizabeth indulges her by pretending to look for him. However, someone pushes Elizabeth out the window to her death. When David asks Emily who did it, she replies that Charlie did. David, armed with a knife, goes outside, where he meets his neighbor. He assumes his neighbor is Charlie and cuts him with the knife, after which the suspicious neighbor calls the police.

Back in the house, David finds that, although he had seemingly been in his study many times, the boxes were actually never unpacked. David realizes that he has split personality and that Charlie is not imaginary at all: Charlie is David himself. Whenever it appeared David was in his study, Charlie was actually in control. David also realizes that under his Charlie personality, he killed his wife and made it appear to be a suicide. He also fully recalls the events of the party the night before his wife's death, where he had caught his wife cheating on him, which triggered David's personality disorder.

David realizes that he is helpless and lets Charlie take over his body. As Charlie, he murders the local sheriff, and Emily calls Katherine for help. Katherine arrives and is attacked by Charlie. Emily manages to escape the house and run into the cave where she originally met Charlie. Katherine takes the gun from the dead sheriff and follows Charlie to the cave. Charlie pretends to be David and attacks Katherine. As he threatens Emily, Katherine shoots him just in time, finally killing him.

Sometime later, Emily is preparing for school in her new life with Katherine. However, Emily's drawing of herself with Katherine has two heads, suggesting that she now also suffers from split personality.


This film has five different endings. The US theatrical release had the following ending:

* Preparing for school while living a new life with Katherine, Emily draws a picture of herself and Katherine, suggesting that everything is fine. But when the camera cuts back to Emily's drawing, Emily has two heads.

Another four were included on the DVD released in the USA:

*Ending #1: The same as the ending in the US theatre release, except that the drawing Emily makes of herself has only one head, suggesting that she is fine and does not suffer from the same disease that resulted in the death of both her parents.

*Ending #2 (this is the ending in the international theatrical version): Emily is shown seemingly in a new apartment bedroom, and Katherine's actions mirror that of her mother's at the beginning of the film. She reassures her love to Emily and begins to leave the room. Emily asks Katherine to leave the door open, but Katherine insists she cannot. As the door shuts, a protected window is visible on the door. The next cut is of Katherine locking the door from the outside, revealing this assumed apartment bedroom is actually a hospital room in a children's psychiatric ward.

*Ending #3: Same as above in the psychiatric ward. After Katherine shuts the door, Emily gets out of bed and does a Hide and Seek countdown. She nears the closet, opens, and smiles at her own reflection in the mirror.

*Ending #4: An ending similar to that in the psychiatric ward, but in this ending Emily is not in a ward but her new home, again playing Hide and Seek with her own reflection.

An additional scene that was planned, but never filmed, involved David briefly regaining control of his body as he lay dying of his gunshot wound and embracing Emily as he died. The producers said it would have been a chance for David and Emily to finally reconcile, following their troubled relationship throughout the film.









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Directed by

John Polson

Produced by

Barry Josephson

Written by

Ari Schlossberg


Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elizabeth Shue, Amy Irving, Dylan Baker

Music by  
Distributed by

20th Century Fox

Release date(s) 27/01/2005
Running time 101 mins
Language English

$25 million