While Hide and Seek was shot well, the story itself fell flat for me. Too much time spent watching kids play instead of building up the tension of the kidnapping. In fact there didn't seem to be any tension involved considering a mother has had her child kidnapped. A few f-words with the neighbour, but even that felt forced. Humour dotted throughout, with the film wrapping up on a high note.
Age-inappropriate casting as a mother gets put under extreme duress from a kidnapping threat following a picnic trip to a war dugout with the young gang. It seems like there was a good deal of activity thrown into the film to try and keep it interesting, but I felt you over-thought the plot a bit too much and in the end this resulted in a predictable film.
Don't get me wrong, swearing can be great for punch lines (I'm a huuuuge fan of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT) but this film showed an over-reliance on the cursing and fell flat after the fifth or sixth eff this/eff that discussion. Unfortunately my suspension of disbelief was ruined by said age inappropriate casting and it felt more like a weirdly two toned thriller than a mystery given the obvious comedic payoff.
I liked this film, it was a bit weak compared to previous Nutbar films but still a solid effort. It moved fairly quickly, it had a coherent (but predictable) story and good kid acting, but let down by the strangely not-that-concerned neighbour (despite the swearing to convince us otherwise) and the slightly less concerned mother. I think team Nutbar has a spot for them at the Wgtn finals one day, but I don't think it will be with "Hide and Seek".
No use of the word "fuckery" in this film, which I found surprising seeing as it would've fit in perfectly during the "fuck", "fuck", "shit" scene (which I found odd, by the way, to include so many f-bombs in a film that those kids would want to see).
I actually really enjoyed this short film! It was witty and had some sweet shots in it. The colour of the first couple of picnic scenes were very lighthearted and the shot with the four kids in a row was a winner in my opinion. The plot was maybe not the most original but definitely gripping and coherent. A bit overdone on the swearing parts but that still got some laughs out of the audience. Anyway, I liked it!
There's something about strong kiwi accents that I really like in films. I thought the characters could be related to, even though it took a while to get used to. The plot was very straight forward and had a decent pace so I felt satisfied when the ruse was over and the mystery solved. It definitely had a neighbourhood vibe. The cinematography was strong and the writing solid. I especially liked the mum character being so tough and brusque, as well as the kids on their phones. Overall, a memorable film. I would have liked it a whole lot more if some of the set-up had been revealed, making the hidden boy a more prominent character.
I don't care what the rest of you say, I liked the neighbour with the weird reaction who swore a lot. That was comedy. It seemed like the film could have pushed more into that kind of comedy in other areas of the film. That could have made it even funnier. The Mum almost had that kind of delivery in a few moments as well, but the tone wasn't quite consistent. I liked the kid with the broken arm getting whacked repeatedly, but there was an opportunity to follow that up by having a door slammed in his face later on that was missed.
I liked the nice tidy, funny ending. The match cut seemed pretty forced until I thought about it right now and realized that maybe you were going for a deeper meaning involving the ending of the film. Maybe I'm slow. I didn't think the swearing was that bad, even for kids watching. It just needs explanation, like all the swearing kids all observe all the time. Anyway, I laughed, I enjoyed it, I thought the story was pretty solid.
This was a thoroughly confusing film. The genre "Mystery" seems to evoke a darker side to narrative, but this short film made me laugh without feeling curiosity or tension as to what the mystery was at any point. I ended up deciding that it was going for a clever approach to mystery whereby it was instead a comedy-mystery hybrid. But then I realised with dawning horror that the mother spouting various iterations of "They've got Jack!" (or something to that effect), with all the conviction of a teaspoon, was meant to provide mounting tension. The actors were all trying to be serious, over-compensating somewhat with the swearing which didn't fit into the dialogue at all, and we were supposed to be curious/dread-filled as to where this child has gone. Instead, I and most of the people sitting next to me were laughing during these moments of 'tension'. If you're going for traditional narrative structure with a beginning, middle and end (even within only seven minutes allotted), you have to get the audience to give a damn about the characters. This is such an important part of developing story that TV Tropes calls the audience reaction "I don't care what happens to these people" the Eight Deadly Words (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EightDeadlyWords).
Now, I began by saying this was a thoroughly confusing film. Not because of a hard-to-follow story (in fact, parts like the ransom drop-off complete with car headlights were painfully overdone), but because I began it thinking it was a new breed of parody comic mystery, and sunk down in confusion at the realisation it was meant to be serious. Sorry, I'm being very negative here... so, ahem, for good points: nice use of the match-cut -- it certainly tied the ending up. I liked the natural lighting for the picnic scenes too, it gave a good familial feel. From what I gather in the comments, this team are veterans, so I'm sure you'll know what to improve on next year and how to digest criticism, and I guess that's a good point too.
You have a good understanding of story and structure, but the film was let down by not being particularly believable. The mother didn't show enough urgency or worry, nor did the neighbour. I guess you nailed the 'thoughtless' nature of the mum though, because how could she have gotten that far out of the park without checking the four kids were with her.. It also didn't seem plausible for her to have that kind of money stashed in a few ornaments around the home (but i'm guessing I missed something in a line of dialogue to explain that - I know she mentioned something about a ****ing business, but I don't really know what that was referring to). It felt like the film was confused between being serious and being a comedy, and the result was that I didn't feel much in either direction.
I'm a bit of conflicted by this short. On the one hand it's a fairly predictable story that has a rather vanilla feel to it. I cared little for the characters or the situation they were in. On the other hand, because it plays it pretty safe and due to the technical side of the film being well-executed I find it difficult to be overly critical and to be honest I quite enjoyed watching. I also didn't mind the swearing nor the seemingly youthfulness of the mother until I really thought about it. Just didn't notice the first time through!
So, a solid film. Not overly inspiring or engaging but well worth a watch.
Giles sort of touched on my main feeling about this film: The easygoing thoughtless Harper being shockingly cavalier about her abducted child could have actually been played off as really funny, and a whole movie based around a mother trying to save her child without being really bothered one way or the other would have been something original that I would have liked to watch, but with the 'serious' acting thrown in, it's clear that this film only gets half-way there, and I don't think it was intentional either.
I didn't quite understand parts of the story, why she couldn't call the cops, what her business was, how she got the money, who had kidnapped the child and what the last scene was meant to imply. If the mother of a kidnapped child simply has the money lying around, and the bulk of the film is her easily collecting it and then just paying the ransom, then there's not a lot of tension in that story, and it's kind of a bummer too, that the kidnappers just win and get the money. I feel like i would have liked to have seen Harper outsmart her enemies, though I get the feeling the ending I didn't understand is meant to imply something to that effect?
I thought the characterisation of Harper was really good, and as the film started out I was actually quite hopeful as she leaves the branch to thwak her son's face as he follows behind her. That whole first scene with the kids was really well shot and the kids did a pretty good job of acting too, though as a whole it was a bit long and seemed to just stall the rest of the movie. I actually thought the game of Hide and Seek they were playing was gonna be the meat of the story, which was a good idea and... wait what's this film called again? "Hide and Seek". Oh man. Did I totally miss the point?
I need to sleep.
Well it had a plot, and the twist at the end caught me by surprise, although I'm surprised at how many people chose to interpret "thoughtless" as "witless" or "brainless".
Some nice camera work. A+ for the match cut. I wanted to give this more but... it just missed that little sparkle.
I decided to give this 4 stars because it was really well put together technically and cinematography-wise. I enjoyed watching it because of that, and the acting was good enough that I was drawn in. I too was a bit confused about why she couldn't call the cops or why she wasn't more distraught - I figured she knew she had $11k stashed so wasn't that worried.
I did really enjoy the twist at the end though, didn't see it coming. It did leave me wondering how young Jack would be able to spend all of his money on cool stuff without Mum figuring it out though, haha. $11k is a lot of money for a 10 year old! I initially wondered why the kidnapper would ask for only/specifically $11k - it was a bit like Dr. Evil always asking for the wrong ransom sum in Austin powers - but it made sense to me once I saw the twist.
I really liked the beginning of this film, had some cool performances from everyone and it felt real .
The film looked great and it followed the genre well but I too thought the swearing was a bit much in the middle of the film.
Overall liked the film I just thought it a few pacing issues in the middle with the money.
This feels like a first-draft film, which is very common in 48Hours. The lead character is too difficult to root for (I found Harper too thoughtless to be a fit parent), the antagonist's motive could have been a little more justified (though his one annoyance was really damn funny) and the long exchange Harper had with her neighbour really could have been cut down to contain the urgency of the situation. When things needed to be tense, I didn't feel it, partly because the score is either too acoustically soft or completely non-existent.
Nevertheless, the short still functions well enough and is lighthearted in the right areas. It's also shot cleanly with some tight editing (nice match cut!).