Stars: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Irving
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 101 minutes
Shuhei Morita's 25-minute Kakurenbo (2004), which has received favorable attention on the festival circuit, is a moody film, appropriate for Hallowe'en. In a corner of modern Japan stands an empty, demon-haunted city where children who play hide and seek disappear. Eight children enter its portals one night: Hikora and his friend Yaimao are looking for his lost sister; the other six are looking for excitement--which they find. Daisuke Sajiki's designs for the mechanical-looking monsters and crumbling buildings are striking and effective. But the characters remain ciphers, with no recognizable personalities. Morita, who co-wrote the script, uses long, slow camera moves for mood, but ends almost every scene with a blackout. Kakurenbo feels more like an exercise than a finished work, especially its weightless CG figures and weak ending derived from the Matrix movies. Like Makoto Shinkai's Voices of a Distant Star, Kakurenbo suggests that it's becoming possible to create small, personal CG films in Japan. (Rated 13 and older: violence, grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon
Do you like her, Daddy?
Charlie says you do.
Did Daddy tell you about my mommy?
I'm sure Elizabeth doesn't want to hear such things.
She killed herself. She slit her wrists and drowned in the bathtub. Let's hope you don't wind up like her.