Hide and Seek appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though more than watchable, the image failed to excel.
Sharpness usually appeared fine. Occasional wide shots came across as a little soft, but those examples didn’t occur frequently. In general the movie came across as accurate and distinct.
While I noticed no concerns related to jagged edges or moiré effects, Seek suffered from some mild edge enhancement at times. As for print issues, it seemed clean.
A moody flick, Seek provided a limited palette, one that focused on rusty ambers with some teal as well. The hues lacked much range but seemed appropriate given stylistic choices.
Blacks were reasonably deep, and shadows offered pretty good clarity, albeit with a bit too much thickness at times. I felt this became a more than adequate presentation but not one that impressed.
I expected a DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield that emphasized creepiness and mood, and that’s what I found. The audio used the various channels to good effect, even though the mix rarely became terribly active.
Spooky bits popped up all around the spectrum and made the tale more unsettling, just as it should. The various pieces seemed well placed in the soundfield and melded neatly to create a nicely immersive environment.
Audio quality appeared positive. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the lines presented no issues related to edginess or intelligibility.
Music was bright and vivid, and the score demonstrated good range and punch. Effects sounded clean and accurate, and they also featured very solid bass response.
The low-end elements provided fine depth and never appeared loose or boomy. Ultimately, Seek seemed like a good soundtrack, but not one that made it to “A”-level.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2005? The BD’s lossless audio added some punch but soundscapes remained similar.
Though I suspect the Blu-ray reused the transfer for the 2005 DVD, the format’s superior capabilities meant it looked better defined and more dynamic. Even with the image’s issues, the Blu-ray became the stronger version.
As we move to the disc’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from director John Polson, editor Jeffrey Ford and screenwriter Ari Schlossberg. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat during which three topics dominate: story, editing and actors.
Given the presence of the writer and the editor, the first two come as no surprise. Story plays an especially big part in the conversation, as we learn a lot about themes, characters, twists, abandoned notions and tightened concepts. Editing delves into some of the same topics, as we hear about cuts and altered material.
The areas related to acting display some of the commentary’s fizziest moments, as the participants relentlessly praise De Niro, Fanning and all the others. However, quite a lot of good data emerges as well, especially when the commentators discuss working with De Niro.
A few other topics like locations and general trivia emerge along the way, and all of this adds up to a very strong commentary. I feel like the participants give us a deep look at what they wanted to do with the film. I don’t think they succeed, but the commentary makes me appreciate the film more.
Fans of cut footage will find a lot of material here, as we can watch four different alternate endings. Viewed one after another via the “Play All” command, they fill a total of eight minutes, seven seconds.
The first is a sunnier take on the theatrical ending, while the other three offer variations on their own theme. All are darker turns, especially the third and fourth conclusions. I think either of these would be more satisfying than the existing finale.
The endings come with optional commentary from Polson, Ford and Schlossberg. As one might expect, they talk about issues connected to the story points depicted in the endings and let us know why they didn’t use them. The discussion seems frank and useful.
For more unused clips, we move to the Deleted Scenes domain. It presents a whopping 14 segments that run 19 minutes, 18 seconds all together.
Some of these elaborate on David’s attempts to make Emily happy, while others show more of the girl’s growing weirdness. We also see a bit more of the David/Elizabeth relationship as well as some red herrings.
The Elizabeth bits are probably the best since they fill in some of the story’s gaps, but none of the cut scenes are terribly useful.
Once again, we can view these with or without commentary from Polson, Ford and Schlossberg. They provide notes similar to those heard in the “Alternate Endings” area, so their remarks merit a listen.
Next comes The Making of Hide and Seek. This 10-minute, 19-second featurette features notes from Polson, producer Barry Josephson, executive producer Joe Caracciolo Jr., production designer Steven Jordan, and actors Dakota Fanning, David Chandler, Amy Irving, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, and Dylan Baker.
They discuss what attracted them to the project, the story and characters, casting and the actors’ performances, Polson’s influence on the set, visual elements, and the film’s appeal. Despite a few decent glimpses behind the scenes, most of the featurette sticks with the standard blandness.
Jordan’s notes about the set are pretty good, and Fanning gives us fun notes about her insect co-star. Otherwise we hear lots of praise and little concrete information in this fluffy program.
Finally, we get three Previs Sequences. This area includes “Charlie Chases Emily” (0:42), “Katherine Confronts Charlie” (0:55) and “Final Moments Between David and Emily” (1:52).
Polson chats as we watch these filmed storyboards. All include scenes not filmed, which makes them more interesting. Polson adds decent notes about the sequences and why he didn’t use them.
With a fairly high-profile cast, Hide and Seek boasts enough of a pedigree that it should have been something good. However, the flick barely achieves mediocrity, much less greatness, as it suffers from poor storytelling and too many cheap scares. The Blu-ray offers decent picture along with very good audio and a pretty nice set of extras highlighted by a surprisingly involving audio commentary. This becomes a pretty feeble stab at a thriller.
To rate this film visit the original review of HIDE AND SEEK