After the suicide of his wife, psychologist De Niro takes his traumatized daughter Dakota Fanning off to a house in the woods to recover. Fanning begins to exhibit strange, hostile behaviour associated with her imaginary friend, Charlie. Then, as the violence escalates, De Niro realizes that Charlie might well be real after all.
Sigh. Another thriller with a twist. Half a second of thought will probably tell you what it is, since it’s the same twist we’ve seen in just about every p…ychological thriller to come down the pike in the last few years. The “surprise” is no surprise, even though the revelation makes very little sense. Oh well. The whole thing is competently put together, but it is very much been-there-done-that, not to mention the fact that I know there are viewers out there who will really not enjoy seeing a little girl victimized for an hour and a half. That said, Fanning does victims really well, and she acts De Niro right off the screen.
DTS and 5.1 are both on offer, and the difference between the two is negligible. The movie is very quiet for the most part, so your sound system doesn’t really get a chance to strut its stuff. Where there are opportunities for surround effects, these are strong, and the placement is very good too. The dialogue is clear and undistorted.
The transfer is excellent. The image is sharp, there is no edge or grain, and the colours are sumptuous. These last are backed by very strong contrasts and fine blacks. There is no visible edge enhancement, and there is no grain to speak of.
Director John Polson, screenwriter Ari Schlossberg and editor Jeffrey Ford provide commentary not just on the feature, but on all four alternate endings and 14 deleted/extended scenes. They are engaging speakers, and one wishes the movie they were associated with was better. You can also choose which ending you want the film to have when you watch it (a rather difficult choice to make if you’re watching the film for the first time). There are three previsualization sequences (again with Polson commentary) intercutting footage and unfilmed storyboards. Finally, you have your usual making-of featurette. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.
If you live in a cave, and don’t watch thrillers, you might find a few surprises here. Maybe. Nice transfer and extras, mediocre film.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Alternate Endings with Optional Commentary
- Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Previsualization with Commentary
- Making-of Featurette