Monday, June 20, 2011

Horror Film Review

Hidden (2009):  Disturbing horror flick from Norway (deal with the subtitles), this is one of the 8 Films To Die For from the After Dark Horrorfest.  Now, this annual offering of eight movies from the After Dark studios has always been a hit or miss endeavor at best.  This entry is mostly a hit.

It starts with one boy having a really bad night and another boy having a really good night.  Peter's folks pulled off the road so he could visit the bushes.  Another boy, shirtless and practically feral, runs out of the woods into the road.  A truck swerves to miss him and runs over the car with Peter's parents in it, killing them.  Flash forward to Kai (Kristoffer Joner) returning to his home town.  His mother died and he inherited her run-down, nasty house.  Kai stays in a hotel within walking distance of the house, and during treks back and forth, sees someone (or something) in the woods.  Then people start dying.  An old friend of Kai's is a cop, and he eventually tells her that his mother had locked him in a basement room, tortured him, and enjoyed it.  Kai tunneled out of his prison (that's his arm on the poster) and escaped...running onto a road where a truck swerved and killed Peter's parents.  So what happened to Peter?  Kai is told that after the accident, Peter wandered through the woods in the fog and fell off a cliff.  Well...maybe not.  Maybe something much, much worse happened to him. 

Throughout the flick, we don't know if the ghost of Peter is causing trouble, if it's a delusional Kai, or perhaps it's a grown up Peter doing the bad things.  Figured out what the "much worse" could be?  Yeah.  If you think about it too much, you'll get the creeps.  So evil mom went out looking for her escaped son and stumbled across a new victim to take his place.  I know.  Only the Norwegians could come up with something that dark and twisted.  Speaking of which, the whole film is super dark in both look and feel.  My only complaint is with the supernatural red herrings.  I mean, they work, but in the end you can't help but feel manipulated. 

The Breakdown

Acting:  Laudable for the most part.  Joner broods and laments appropriately.
Story:  Something out of Grimm's fairy tales...or maybe from Stephen King.
Direction:  The director's name has letters in it that my computer won't type so you'll need to check IMDB if you're curious.  The film's pace keeps you on your toes and it's nicely put together.  It could have easily been a confusing mess.
Production Values:  As with other features from Norway, they're quite high.  No low-budget feel at all.
Gore/FX:  No gore, really.  Just enough blood to keep it honest. 
Scares:  Yes.  You'll jump at least twice.  One of them...yeah, it got me good.
The Ending:  A little frustrating, but it's a personal preference thing.  Otherwise, a clever wrap-up.
The Verdict:  Should you see Hidden?  You bet.  Good and spooky.  And more than a little disturbing.  One piece of advice, though:  do not dwell too much on what the evil mom-bitch could have been up to in that house.  Not a road you want to travel.

My Rating4 out of 5 stars.

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