John Polson's thriller Hide and Seek relies on the kind of third-act twist that changes the audience's perception of everything that has come before. For a film like that to work, the story has to be "about" something larger than itself. For every Memento or Fight Club, films that comment, respectively, on the nature of memory and consumer culture, there are dozens of films like Hide and Seek that mistake filmmaking cleverness for quality. Dakota Fanning and Robert De Niro do what they can during the film's opening sections, but since she is playing mostly catatonic and he is playing repressed and frustrated, there is no character for the audience to identify with or feel for. This makes figuring out the identity of "Charlie" the only element of the film an audience member might care to focus on. If the twist holds any shock value at all, something that depends in large part on how many films like this a viewer has already seen, it dissipates quickly in large part because of the laughably bad acting on display during the film's third act. Hide and Seek offers neither deep thoughts nor shallow fun, and wastes the time of some very talented actors.