THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
You know how people say yadda yadda yadda when telling a story, assuming that the listener can fill in certain gaps on their own? Well, Hidden is a whole movie full of yadda yadda yadda. The film, which bypassed theaters and is now available on DVD, takes a lot of elements that have been done countless times before and dutifully trots them out in a rote fashion.
This is the story of a family forced to live in an underground shelter following some kind of virus, yadda yadda yadda. Alexander Skarsgard and Andrea Riseborough play the parents, Ray and Claire, and Emily Alyn Lind is their nine-year-old daughter Zoe. Their days are spent hiding from “the Breathers,” creatures above who, yadda yadda yadda. Food is becoming scarce, and Zoe is in constant need of reassurance that they're safe down there. Of course, they're not, yadda yadda yadda.
Hidden has a few things working in its favor. The use of a cramped, confined space as a horror setting is always at least a little effective, and writer/directors Matt and Ross Duffer convincingly convey the idea that nearly a year spent in this dark, dismal environment has taken a toll on the family. The performances are good, too. Andrea Riseborough (Birdman) and Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) are solid as the parents struggling to keep their little girl both physically and psychologically safe. And as that child, Emily Alyn Lind proves to be a real find. She portrays a lot of tough emotions with realism that's uncommon in such young actors.
Mostly, though, Hidden is just predictable and uninspired. When the Duffers do try to add an original twist at the end, they bungle it with overly dark cinematography, choppy editing that makes it difficult to tell what's going on, and a howler of a credibility-straining final scene. There are also some moments that defy logic. For instance, Zoe carries around one of those dolls that talks when you pull the string on its back. The Breathers are standing directly above the shelter, so the family attempts to be quiet below. They then discover that the doll's string has gotten caught on a screw and is stretched out. Rather than one of them grabbing the string so that it doesn't start talking, they all stand there and stare at it. You can guess what happens next.
Hidden isn't the worst thing you'll ever see, but it doesn't do anything that hasn't already been done – much better, mind you - on The Walking Dead or dozens of other movies about people trying to survive after a deadly outbreak. It's pretty generic stuff.
( 1/2 out of four)
Hidden is rated PR for some violence/terror. The running time is 1 hour and 23 minutes.
Buy a copy of my book, "Straight-Up Blatant: Musings From The Aisle Seat," on sale now at Lulu.com! Paperback and Kindle editions also available at Amazon.com!