Seek, And Ye Shall Find A Good Movie
Main Cast: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Robert John Burke
Director: John Polson
Harrowing! This one is pretty darn spooky, I must say. I’m also slightly uneasy in placing a young girl in such an intense film, and I hope she had long sessions of calming talk between takes. I know I was slightly shaken at the end, and I wasn’t even there.
But to the plot: When the movie opens, it is clear that there is tension between Dr. David Calloway (De Niro) and wife Alison (Amy Irving). That night, he wakes up suddenly and finds that she is not sleeping beside him. Concerned, he goes to the bathroom and finds her dead in the tub. This, of course, is very traumatizing, and he decides to move out to the country with his young daughter Emily (Fanning). She is particularly effected, silent and withdrawn. They settle down in an old, rambling house. Dr. Calloway tries to interest his daughter in making friends, but she refuses, scaring off the only other one her age. Instead, she tells him that she has a new friend named Charlie. David takes him as imaginary, and plays along at first at the insistence of Katherine (Janssen), his protégé and Emily’s counselor from the city. But the menace and terror escalate, slowly but surely, with more and more strange events and scares.
I will say no more. The plot is complex yet easy to follow, the characters are well-developed, and the acting solid. While I offer high praise to Mr. De Niro, I must single out Ms. Fanning. She is accomplished well beyond her age, and is the thematic center of the film. Once everything is explained, her behavior is crystal clear, as well as her mental anguish. She pulls everything off like a true veteran.
So, this is a very good film, but not for the faint of heart. It relies more on psychology than blood-letting, and is more terrifying because of it.
— S. Moyer