HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:71
Sometimes horror is best when there are unknown’s at play. When the viewer is left questioning WHAT is there to be afraid of sometimes that can be the scariest. Basically when something goes “bump” in the night, our imaginations can create something far worse than what reality actually has in store for us. Such is the case for the DTV horror/thriller “Hidden”. A family trapped underground, terrified of the destruction caused by the “Breathers” on the surface world. Tension is built through terror of the unseen and tension through the constant fear of getting caught. The film is based off of an untold premise that isn’t touched upon till over half way through the movie, but once the end twist is revealed everything is clear. It’s not the most fantastic film on the planet, but I have to admit the execution of a worn out genre is rather clever and well worth viewing for that reason alone.
Ray (Alexander Skarsgard), Claire (Andrea Riseborough) and their daughter Zoe (Emily Alyn Lind) are living in an underground bunker, almost a year after some unknown disaster caused the last of humankind to flee. None of the three know if anyone else even lives out there, all they know is that they dare not poke their heads out due to fear of monsters known as “breathers”. All they can do is eek out a meager living under the earth, dining on leftover canned supplies from the surface. Only problem is that their food stores are dwindling, and their strength fading fast. A freak accident causes damage to the bunker and the family has to venture out into the wilds to find more food and shelter. Here, they run face to face with the “Breathers” and their worst nightmares are come to life.
I’m having to tread very very lightly here, as almost anything I can say about the plot may give the big twist away. Even the fact that you KNOW there is a twist very well may let the genie out of the bottle, in fact. It’s all painfully obvious if you think about it. All the clues are right there for you to see, but the biggest one has to do with the name of the monsters themselves. Once you wrap your brain around that the rest just falls into place.
Much of the story is told in the present, especially the first 40% of the film, but as time goes on the Duffer brothers dole out backstory in the form of flashbacks to a year ago, when their town was still thriving and everyone was on the surface. Little by little we get more hints as to what actually happens and by the time the family is attacked by the breathers, the entire film gets turned on its head by a rather well done twist.
I usually despise movies that have a twist ending, but “Hidden” actually pulled it off rather well. Not only that, that same almost obvious twist (if you know what to look for) added a fresh twist on a dying genre. I won’t say what genre of film this really is, but as someone who has felt that the market is overly saturated with said genre, the execution and reveal of the real “monsters” was quite clever.
Rated R for some violence and terror
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=56522[/img]“Hidden” is a VERY dark film. Nearly 100% of the film (except for a few flashbacks) is set underground or at night, bathing the entire film in shadows. The color tones tend to lean towards an olive green complexion, with pitch black all around. That alone requires a lot from the black levels, and they hold up admirably. There’s some crush and a bit of a greying out of some darker that normal scenes, but overall the image is quite satisfying. Fine detail is good when you can see past the darkness, and overall clarity is solid. There is a bit of a gauzy look to the movie during the flashbacks, and sometimes the brightness is a bit boosted in the contrast range, but both the light and dark look satisfying to the eyes.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=56530[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track holds up just as well. The film is mainly an enclosed drama, with 95% of the sounds going to the center channel for the dialog. Still there is some solid surround usage as you can hear the creaks and groans of the old bunker in the background. When the family escapes to the top side, we get to hear a bit more dynamic audio experience, as the trio battels the breathers on the surface. LFE is nice and powerful, adding in plenty of jump scares to startle the viewer. Vocals are crisp and clear, although once in a while I noticed that it would fade to a quitter level, mainly when a character is looking away from the camera (a limitation of being in one small room where a limited number of boom mics are probably available).
The Direct to Video market is not exactly the bastion of all that is high quality, but “Hidden” surprised me with its intimate setting and rather unique twist on a familiar genre. The movie doesn’t need to use any cheesy effects, or show the strain of its limited budget being that 99% of the film is staged in a single room. That alone helps the viewer forget the cracks and seams of the lowered budget and allows us to enjoy the film for what it is. Audio and video are good for a DTV film on DVD and despite the completely barebones nature of the disc, holds up well on the large screen. Recommended to check out.
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Andrea Riseborough, Emily Alyn Lind
Director: Matt and Ross Duffer
Written By: Matt and Ross Duffer
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 83 Minutes
Hidden Arrives Onto DVD on October 6 or Own It Early on Digital HD now
Buy Hidden DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Check it Out
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