Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hidden (2009)

I'd hate to be a mom in a horror movie. If you are a  mother in a horror movie, you are either a.) terrorized or killed by some type of evil, or b.) complete evil yourself. So yeah, no luck there if you are a mom. In the Norwegian film "Hidden", the mom in question is of the evil variety.

Kai Kross (Kristoffer Joner) has come back home for his mother's funeral and to inherit her home. This turns out to be a bad idea, as Kai was abused by his mother as a child, and the horrors of the past are beginning to catch up on him, as the locals begin to grow suspicious of him and a someone he knew as a child may be returning.

An entry into the fourth (and so far final) After Dark Horrorfest, "Hidden" largely works, and is one of the most overlooked titles in the series history, as well as one of the most underrated. That's largely thanks to the impressive cinematography and direction on display that makes great use of the woods and house-they positively feel like places where nothing but dread and bad omens lurk. It also sports a fine lead performance from Joner, who manages to make Kai a sympathetic character that also serves as a striking commentary on the horrors of child abuse and the effects it has on one's future. Finally, it manages to be a creepy little movie that understands the importance of atmosphere in a horror movie, as it breathes malice and oncoming danger through it's very pores.

I'd be lying if I said that this is a flawless movie. While it's mostly chilling, it can also feel a bit too predictable, as you can probably guess some of the films secrets early on. Also, while I normally don't mind slow pacing in horror, here it occasionally feels like a hindrance instead of a gift. Granted, it usually works, but there are moments where even I started to think to myself "come on, why isn't anything happening?"

That being said, this hits much more than it misses. Fans of atmospheric horror more interested in mood instead of splatter (though there is a little gore here) will most likely find plenty to savor. Check it out sometime.

Rating: 7/10

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