Hidden (2005)
By: Markus Zussner on August 10, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Force Entertainment (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 2.0. 93 minutes
The Movie
Director: Tim McLachlan Starring: Luke Alexander, Dana Bernard, Daniel Betty, Ellie Cragg, Mike Edward, Wayne England
Screenplay: Tim McLachlan
Music: Hirini Melbourne
Tagline: "If you go down to the woods today…."
Country: New Zealand
I know I'm going to be raked over the coals and tortured for doing a review on this movie especially for my opinion on it, but it doesn't bother me. I've read other reviews on Hidden and they're all pretty bad and in this I mean no one in the whole wide world and the solar system really liked this movie, except possibly me. Maybe I am a little biased in my opinion because the films location was shot in the exact area I grew up in until just recently. My buddies and I used to hang out in the locations the film was set in and would always comment on how great the place was and how it would make an excellent horror flick location. The scenery is beautiful in one light and damned creepy in another. Oh well here goes.

Hidden starts off with a group of kiwi young-uns playing a game of rugged hide-and-seek in the lush New Zealand bush. It's like the speed version of hide-and-seek as they run madly through the trees doing spins and summersaults and slides all over the place to lose themselves before the seeker sets off to find them. As a matter of fact the whole movie is one big long game of Hide-and-seek until its surprise conclusion. Some keep running, others climb up trees, others hide behind bushes, and some hide in a creepy graveyard and an isolated church. During this elaborate game of cat and mouse these kids test the strengths and weakness' of their relationship and reflect upon psychological issues that have haunted them from their past. As the game progresses, each of the kids realise something is awry; that things seem a little weird or 'strangely normal'. Something sinister is lurking in the bush and may be playing its own twisted game of hide-and-seek with them.

Hidden is the first film of New Zealand Writer/Producer/Director Tim McLachlan and it boasts some crazy camera work that fans of the original Evil Dead liked to freak out over. The idea of one long game of hide-and-seek works well and provides a feverish energy to the film. The absence of any music through the entire story, which I thought was a good move, only helps to heighten the feel of isolation and the sense of loneliness that the characters feel. It was also a bold move (more likely lack of budget) to avoid any and graphic violence, but then this is not really the nature of the story. There are some genuinely freaky moments where one of the characters is possessed by something in the bush which has him doing super jumps and climbing up and down the trees and power poles literally like a jumping spider. This was the highlight for me. The acting is good and despite its large cast it's not hard to keep up with who is who and also it doesn't pin any of them into a leading role. They all carry the movie. There are a lot of red herrings throughout that send you down the wrong path, but once you reach the films final moments, all seems to come logically clear.

Now one reviewer said that it was the worst film they'd seen since Battlefield Earth. I mean come on! How the hell do you compare Battlefield Earth with Hidden? For starters the former had a budget of somewhere near $100.000.000 where the latter was closer to $1000 and what's more they are totally different genres. If you want to make the right comparison then compare The Woods of Evil with Hidden and then tell me which is the better film. No contest.
Shot with a digital camera so it's got that digi-cam quality to it, but this media works well for this type of movie. Nevertheless the visual atmosphere and picture quality is rather good really. It is grainy in parts but this seems to be done for effect.
2.0 Dolby digital. The audio is crisp, clear and level throughout, but don't expect an ear massage. It's a great enough effort for this very low budget movie.
Extra Features
Behind the Scenes feature. Duration 30 minutes. This behind the scenes feature for the most part is quite invaluable for student film makers, especially since all involved are student film makers. You get to see all the home made steady cams, camera rigs, frames and cranes that the crew invented and used to get some of the quite creative camera shots and tricks seen in Hidden. Also we get to see some of the stunt coordination which where executed by stunt people that worked on Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings.
The Verdict
Part Blair Witch Project and part Carnival of Souls. This movie isn't really going to be liked or enjoyed by a majority of diehard horror fans, but for those who just want to take it easy and go on an unsettling moody journey through beautiful yet spooky bushland and enjoy a psychological study of friendship, loyalty, fear and paranoia, then maybe, just maybe, Hidden is for you.
Movie Score
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