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DVD Reviews | Jun 14th, 2005

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Starring Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue
Written By: Ari Schlossberg
Directed By: John Polson
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com link

The movie starts with Robert DeNiro’s wife whacking herself in the bathtub, with her young daughter there to see the aftermath. Her father decides it’s probably for the best to move them to a secluded house in upstate New York. I definitely see the logic behind the move, but did the house have to be that creepy? After David Callaway and his daughter, Emily, settle in, she turns into a total Goth-chick (which is kind of strange for a 10 year old.) She also
“creates” an imaginary friend named Charlie….and creepiness ensues. I don’t want to tell the actual ending of the movie, because it is surprising and I wouldn’t want to take that away from anyone.

This movie is definitely better classified as a suspense thriller than a horror, because it really wasn’t that scary. Sure I was on the edge of my seat, but it’d be a stretch to say I was actually “scared.” You know what was kind of scary? Trying to grasp the fact that Robert DeNiro’s is Dakota Fanning’s “father!!” I mean c’mon, I did the math within the first five minutes of the movie, and Amy Irving who plays the suicidal mother is no spring chicken herself. Bobby D. is definitely more believable as a grandfather these days. (I don’t mean no disrespect Mr. DeNiro.)

There are some quality actor’s in this movie; Robert “I heard tings” DeNiro, Amy Irving, Famke Janssen (Jean Grey… hubba hubba), and Elisabeth Shue, even though she lost all my respect when she dumped Daniel Larusso in The Karate Kid II.) There is also an underground talent by the name of Dakota Fanning; maybe you’ve seen her in EVERY movie requiring a little girl role in the past 3 years. Even with this quality cast, it doesn’t seem like they were really pushed that hard to shine. They all seemed to have kind of called this one in.

Although I was entertained and feeling the suspense, I did hear a little voice in my head, or maybe it was my imaginary friend, that kept saying, “Are you kidding me?” There’s a creepy little kid, (The Shining, The Omen, The Sixth Sense, The Ring, blah blah blah.) There’s an old house, dolls, dark woods, you get the drift. I can just picture a bunch of writer’s sitting around saying, “Guys, what’s scary?” I can’t say too much without ruining parts of the plot, but afterwards I found myself thinking, “What did that aspect
of the movie have to do with anything?”

The DVD special features really hit a home run in my book. “Alternate Endings” is definitely one of my favorite two word phrases. Although not as good as “open bar,” or “multiple choice” I love them. That does lead to frequent disappointment, but not here, I definitely enjoyed them. There is audio commentary with the director, screenwriter, and the editor, and a ton of
deleted/extended scenes. Along with the obligatory storyboard and “making-of” filler, the extras are solid.

Bottom line, I liked it. It’s not going to be a movie I watch again and again, or ever again for that matter, but I still recommend it because it had my eyes glued to the screen. Plus I was so convinced I had it all figured out, the surprise twist at the end caught me completely off-guard.

4 Seamlessly Branched Alternate Endings with optional Commentary by Director John Polson, Screenwriter Ari Schlossberg and Editor Jeffrey Ward
14 Deleted/Extended Scenes with optional commentary by Director John Polson, Screenwriter Ari Schlossberg and Editor Jeffrey Ward
3 Pre-Vis Sequences
Making of Featurette

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Surround
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes:
Rating: R
Running Time: 100 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: