Halloween-O-Meter: 2005 Double Feature
Halloween-O-Meter: Cursed (2005) and Hide and Seek (2005) – 2-in-1 review
Welcome back to our Halloween-O-Meter! The totally serious and completely foolproof review series where we use ranking movies based on their watchability (totally a word) for Halloween as an excuse to write less about them! Today I wanted to take a step back from the typically good films we’ve been reviewing and talk about not one, but two bad movies that you absolutely shouldn’t watch! Let alone for Halloween. Why? Well look, we watched these hoping for the best, so I’ve got to talk about them somehow!
Released in January of 2005, Hide and Seek stars Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning as a father and daughter who move to an isolates home after the death of De Niro’s wife. Strange things begin happening when Fanning makes a new friend that only she can see… The film managed to make back more than triple its budget worldwide, ending up a somewhat financial success despite a poor reception from both critics and audiences.
Released almost exactly one month later, Wes Craven- ugh how did the duo who brought us Scream (1996) bring us this? Anyway, Cursed follows two siblings who are attacked by a werewolf and must attempt to find a solution before it is too late and they become werewolves themselves… Fortunately this time audiences listened to the critics, as Cursed didn’t even recover its budget throughout its box office run.
Aside from the release dates, these films have very little in common. But honestly I feel like tackling both together just for the sake of trying, as they do share many of the same faults! Basically, don’t watch either. Fun fact: We were literally driving to go see War with Grandpa (2020) when we turned around. We just couldn’t make ourselves to see it. So out of respect for Mr. De Niro, we put on Hide and Seek. What an amazing choice we made.
For all its faults, Cursed had one little twist that got me right neat the end. I thought I predicted the entire movie, but it got me! (Not that it makes the writing any better, but you can tell Craven knows how to mislead an audience.) Hide and Seek also has a rather interesting dynamic, as I did spend the entire film wondering what was going to happen. Now once they tell you, it’s dumb. But hey, it’s the journey not the destination!
Both Cursed and Hide and Seek are honestly terrible, suffering everything from a poor screenplay to terrible editing. Both films reek of the worst of 2000s cinema as well, full of ugly quick cuts, an overuse of tilts, and strange, flashy transitions. Hide and Seek makes the mistake of using slow motion during dramatic sequences when it could simply let TWO TIME ACADEMY AWARD WINNER ROBERT FREAKIN DE NIRO ACT! And while Cursed doesn’t delve in such slow motion, it does consistently mention Carrot Top and feature 2000s rock heavily. Such mood.
Neither excels in the effects department either, as cursed tries and fails hard to make werewolves updated, and Hide and Seek- well doesn’t have anything but cuts to black. Cursed also suffers a crucial error in pacing and intrigue, mainly because neither main character transforms into a werewolf. Okay the brother does, but we don’t see it, and we don’t see him as a werewolf. Even when werewolf things do happen they don’t make sense! In fact, neither of these movies make sense! Where Cursed drops the ball in terms of- nothing happening, Hide and Seek picks up the slack by having most of the film not matter by the end. And it also doesn’t make sense! Neither of these movies make sense or follow the horror formula laid out by those superior films they so poorly imitate. Come on Wes!
Anyway, the last thing I wanted to touch on are the performances, which are terrible across the board. Leads Robert De Niro and Christina Ricci never get the chance to show off acting skills which we know they have. Instead most of the direction is given to Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg, neither of whom were up to the task.
So yeah, these are bad movies. Very bad. One is downright boring with a messy finale and- not much to it. The other is a rather interesting build-up to a big slap in the face. Of logic is the thing doing the slapping. Or whatever. 3/10. For both.
Now comes the part where I say “But hey, they might make okay Halloween flicks!” Except, they kinda don’t. Okay if I am being honest, each has their charm when it comes to an ironically fun Halloween watch. But while Cursed has werewolves going for it, Hide and Seek scores the win between the two for a finale that is laughable enjoyable! By the end of the movie I was actually enjoying thinking through the choices of the film, so if you want something to kill 101 minutes and you’ve already seen all the good-bad horror movies, hey you could do worse than the nonsense that is Hide and Seek! 2 out of 5 Scary Pumpkins. Cursed on the other hand is made by the man who brought us A Nightmare on Elm Street. I expected more. 1 out of 5 Scary Pumpkins…
So, either of these bad movies? Have you seen either of them? What do you think? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know what else we should rank on the Halloween-O-Meter!
-review by Ryan Price