Originally published online at BLUNT Magazine.
1.5 / 5
It’s astounding that a film this boring could exist in this day and age. You would think that at some point in its production, be it in the script writing stage, during filming or even when it was being edited, that someone – anyone – would stand up and say, “Actually, what if we don’t do that?” Instead, we get Hidden, a film so mediocre that it makes sitting in a hospital waiting room seem like a day at Disneyland.
When a viral outbreak begins to devastate the planet, a family of three manage to escape and take refuge in an abandoned bomb-shelter. The good news is that Ray (Alexander Skarsgård), Claire (Andrea Riseborough) and their daughter Zoe (Emily Alyn Lind) have managed to survive for almost a year on the shelter’s supplies. The bad news: they are three of the most uninteresting and unsympathetic characters you will ever meet. Oh, and there are unknown monsters known only as “Breathers” roaming the surface. But mostly the first thing.
You would think that a film whose entire premise is based on the fact that these three characters are the only surviving members of the human race would have imbued them with some kind of personality – but you’d be wrong.
Written and directed by Matt and Ross Duffer, Hidden is a 90-minute slog in which the last people you’d want to survive the apocalypse unfortunately survive the apocalypse. This is the Duffer Brothers’ feature-length directorial debut, and it really shows. They stumble through Thriller Cinematography 101, clearly trying to establish an atmosphere of tension without ever achieving it. Everything set in the bunker is woefully under-lit, to the point of frustration.
The thing is, there’s a good film somewhere in here. A psychological thriller where the occupants of a fallout shelter slowly succumb to cabin fever, unsure if their dwindling supplies are a manifestation of their building insanity or an unknown lodger, is an interesting concept. Instead, the Duffer Brothers have created something that could pass as a slightly above average episode of The Twilight Zone and stretched it to an incredibly ill fitting feature-length size. There’s a twist that occurs about two-thirds through the film that, in all honesty, is genuinely clever. But this moment of quality is quickly undermined, however, as the Duffer Brothers toss in another twist, which is so left field and unnecessary that you’ll feel bad that you gave them that brief moment of credit in the first place. It’s like eating a bowl of ice cream before being force-fed a jar of sauerkraut.
Hidden isn’t even worth a watch in a So-Bad-It’s-Good way; there’s nothing entertaining here, not even in an ironic capacity. A film like Trolls 2 may be an abomination of cinema, but don’t act like you didn’t have a fun time watching it. If you’re faced with the choice of watching Hidden or being locked in a bomb shelter for a year, take the latter. I guarantee you’ll have a better time.