After Emily Callaway’s mother commits suicide her father decide to take her away to a house in the woods to help her get over the trauma. But Emily seems to be getting worse. She starts talking to a new friend, Charlie, and he seems to be a bad influence. Her father David, a psychologist tries to use this imaginary friend to help Emily work through her issues. While the audience is left to wonder is Charlie really imaginary? Is he a ghost or the neighbour’s dead child? And why are the locals acting a little strange?
And the trouble keeps on coming as mysterious messages, some a little gruesome, get left in the bathroom, often with a message scrawled in red for David to read.
The first hour or so of this film is decent enough. Dakota Fanning is great as the kid, you have no real problem in believing that she could be evil, or seeing ghosts or whatever, but by the end of the film you just don’t really care. The resolution is crap, and the final scene pointless.
Since his slew of taking-the-piss of his previous characters I’ve found it a little difficult to take De Niro seriously, but he does a fine job as the worried Dad here.
All in all this is a mediocre film, dragged down by the ending.