Thursday, August 24, 2017

Horror Film Review

Hidden (2015):  Post-apocalyptic/outbreak flick that may or may not also be a zombie flick.  This one's tough to categorize.  You'll understand why shortly.  One thing I can report with confidence is that I didn't see the twist coming.  Either I'm getting old or the film is just that good.  I vote for the film being just that good.

Ray (Alexander Skarsgaard) and Claire (Andrea Riseborough) along with daughter Zoe (Emily Alyn Lind) live in an underground bomb shelter.  After some kind of outbreak and subsequent cataclysm nearly a year earlier, it's been their home.  The rules they live by, their creed, if you will, are:  never be loud, never lose control, never open the door, and never mention the "breathers."  You assume "breathers" are the creatures or infected zombie-like folk who have overrun the world.  Personality-wise, Ray and Claire are like Phil and Claire from Modern Family.  Ray is upbeat, positive, and enjoys games with Zoe while Claire is the pragmatic voice of reason.  Anyway, whilst dealing with a provisions-stealing rat, a fire breaks out in the bunker.  This induces extreme panic as they're certain the escaping smoke will be seen by the breathers and their hidey-hole will be discovered.  They are correct.  The breathers are certainly scary, but the more you watch them, the more you realize something isn't quite right...  Spoiler warning.  The breathers are military dudes in respirator masks, not zombies or virus-ridden cannibals.  Turns out, Ray's family lived in a suburban area that was quarantined.  Everyone affected in the quarantine zone is being hunted down.  Why?  Because...wait for it...Ray, Claire and Zoe are the mutants, changed by whatever they were exposed to.  The "never lose control" rule is because whenever they get upset or very emotional, they basically do a Mr. Hyde (or Hulk) transformation and become not-quite mindless, super strong and savage.  They flee after a short skirmish in which Ray is apparently killed (he got in some good licks, though).  Just when all seems hopeless, Claire and Zoe are found by a kid who used to be their neighbor.  He leads them to an underground community where the people are just like them.  Aww.  Kind of warm and fuzzy.

The twist was groovy.  I'm sure the filmmakers were attempting to comment on some sociological issue plaguing the world but if so, I missed it.  Thank God.  I enjoyed the random and unexpected humor as well.  Surprising in such a dark, bleak setting.

The Skinny

Acting:  Skarsgaard and Riseborough are fantastic.  Lind as Zoe is slightly annoying.
Story:  They took a conventional horror theme and turned it on its ear.  Clever.
Direction:  Flowing tension for the full 84 minute run time.
Production Values:  No budget data although I'd wager it wasn't in the millions.  Still, I have no complaints regarding its look or the technical aspects.
Gore/FX:  Some blood but nothing I feel would warrant the R rating.
Scares:  More nerve-wracking tension than anything.  You might jump once or twice, though.
Ending:  Almost happily ever after.
Verdict:  Should you see Hidden?  Yep.  It's better than the majority of horror flicks out there today and deserves to found instead of hidden.  (OK...sorry about that.)

Rating:  4 out of 5

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