K.C. Bailey
EW Staff
February 27, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Why Dakota Fanning scares us in ”Hide and Seek”

CLASSIFICATION Freakishly Precocious

CHARACTER Emily, a motherless girl who conjures up an imaginary friend with homicidal tendencies

CHILD’S PLAY After Mom’s suicide, Dad (Robert De Niro) moves with Emily to a remote woodland house. That’s when the hostile ”Charlie” starts making his presence felt. Is he real? Is he a ghost? Or is he a projection of Emily’s emotionally disturbed mental state?

CHILLING MOMENT When a cop asks her what’s in the picture she’s drawing, Emily says, ”You. Dying.”

WHY SHE SCARES US Ever since her starring role opposite Sean Penn in I Am Sam (2001) at age 7, Fanning has seemed eerily like a little adult. But her dyed-brown locks and thousand-yard stare in this movie indicate a new level of unchildlike gravity.

WOULD PLAY WELL WITH… Anna Paquin in The Piano (1993); Julie Allred (as the JonBenet-like child star who grows up to be Bette Davis) in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

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