DIRECTOR: PÃ¥l Ã˜ie
STARRING: Arthur Berning, Knut Morten Brekke, Gabriel August GjÃ¸nnes, Agnes Karin Haaskjold, Andreas HaugsbÃ¸
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2010
For four straight years now, After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For has been unleashed. Eight original horror films to quench your thirst for blood and gore and screams galore. Last year I was able to check out and review their third collection of horrors (Read: DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest III: 8 Films To Die For), and was rather excited to check out their new slate this year! Instead of cramming every review into one mammoth review, this year we’ll take it one flick at a time, with this little opener stuck at the top of each one.
With each Horrorfest (the last two anyway), there’s a foreign horror title included. This year, the movie came from Norway and is called Hidden (Skjult). While there are other titles that hail from other overseas locations like the UK and New Zealand, I say “foreign” meaning that this one is fully subtitled.
Beginning with a tragic accident that sees a boy’s family killed, the story revolves around Kai (Kristoffer Joner) who witnessed the tragedy and is brought back to the town it occurred in when his mother dies. This return sparks many painful memories of his life, and his ties to the tragedy he witnessed as a young boy.
In the event of his mother’s death, he is left the house he grew up and suffered much pain in, and when he steps foot in the house after many years away, it’s not long before strange things begin to happen. These strange things include the appearance of the boy who’s family was killed (and who supposedly died many years earlier), and the mysterious deaths of some local residents.
Now, as you might be able to tell from the description above, this is not an easy movie to summarize. There’s a lot going on and it comes at you in a quickfire fashion. This is one of the things that left me a little on the outside by the end of Hidden. The movie is pretty confrontational, and it does not shy away from getting in your face. Maybe it’s because I’m not a confrontational person, but it made it very difficult to warm up to the story and the characters and often offered an awkward feeling while watching. Some movie fans may dig this, for sure, but it will be an acquired taste to accustom yourselves to.
Hidden isn’t a bad movie, and there’s a lot of decent stuff going on, but all-in-all it felt pretty jagged and was fairly hard to keep track of what was going on. Not to a point where you’ll be confused, but certainly to a point that could negatively affect your views of the final product; you’ll have an idea of what’s going on, but as each minute passes, your brain becomes more and more occupied with trying to put the pieces together.
Also, a lot of the scares felt a little synthetic, relying heavily on the “BOO!” factor and not so much that natural fear that’s so often desired. As you can tell in trailer, some of these scares are creepy, but Hidden already had a gloomy, lurking tone I liked, so these bits to make you jump were unnecessary.
It’s possible that this could be the popular style of filmmaking in Norway, and that’s fine, just not for me. It seems that they may have simply had an idea but weren’t exactly sure how to put it all together. And if this is the case, they didn’t do too bad, but something still felt like it wasn’t right. This is one some may enjoy and others will hate, so check out the trailer below and give it a whirl if you think it might suit your preference.