The Hidden sounds like a total nineties win. If you factor in everything the film is bringing to the table it’s hard for it to fail. We have a totally implausible plot line with little to no explanation offered. and the film also features ultimate 90’s bad guy (to most unless you were a fan of Twin Peaks), Kyle McLachlan. The only problem with all of that is this is actually an eighties film. Released in 1987, this film does not seem par for the course for its own time period and that seems to be a very good thing.
Our film follows a hidden entity that has been creating mayhem in Los Angeles by hopping from body to body in a, to be frank, rather gruesome and awesome manner. This entity seems set on committing a variety of crimes while listening to loud music and driving expensive cars. We first get introduced to this entity in the middle of a high-speed chase where the LAPD is about to apprehend him. Unfortunately, the entity does not go down without a fight and ends up in a coma. This is where we meet Special Agent Gallagher (McLachlan) who has followed the suspect all the way from Seattle in an effort to stop him dead in his tracks, pun intended. He partners with local Detective Beck (Michael Nouri) and it seems that only by working together can they track him down and stop him before he jumps bodies again. The question soon becomes do Gallagher and Beck have what it takes to bring the entity down before it is too late or will this be the one per that got away?
This film hits the ground running with an action-packed car chase that ends in disaster exactly how you would hope. Once we start to see what this entity is truly capable of I was hooked. This film has a lot to offer. Not the least of which is some incredibly lacking plot points and flat moments. McLachlan does his best to fill these gaps in the film with his acting ability but it is hard to say on whether or not it made an impact overall. The one thing I was impressed with is how they manage to convey the entity moving from body to body without it being too tacky only really showing the process once and letting the imagination do the work.
The Film 3/5
This is where The Hidden wins big for me. Not only do the effects literally take you by storm in a very unexpected way, but they continue to please throughout the film. The first moment that really grabs ahold of you is when the creature jumps from one host to another and it is spectacular in every sense of the word. Using practical effects to accomplish this was a great choice especially when at the time of filming a lot of films were starting to switch to using more digital effects to accomplish their shock and awe. While there are some uses of digital effects within the film it is conservative enough that the film maintains a sense of reality. Horror legend Jacques Haitkin (A Nightmare on Elm Street) bring this tale to life. Making use of his Motto “put every dollar on screen” he helps Director Jack Sholder (whom he worked with previously on Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) bring this tale to legendary status in the genre. The upgrade to Blu-ray seem highly noticeable, the details pop out and the practical effects are absolutely stunning making Blu-ray the perfect platform for this film.
Picture Quality 4/5
Michael Convertino chose eighties punk bands Concrete Blonde and The Truth to set the tone for the film by spreading a couple songs from both of them into the film. The whole soundtrack has a punk vibe as the creature is apparently a fan of loud fast paced rock and cars that go with it. The choice actually sets the tone apart from what you might expect and gives the whole film a faster pace overall. The levels were surprisingly agreeable for home viewing even with the moments of really loud music seemed to work well against the same audio level for dialogue. I expected to have to move the volume up and down quite a bit, however I was surprised at how little I found myself fussing with it.
Audio Quality 5/5
I am rather unimpressed with the artwork chosen for the package for The Hidden, not that I have any alternate suggestions, but it doesn’t really do anything to convey the film inside. The Amaray case is nice enough and feels solid in the hands and will hold up on the shelf for some time to come. Warner Archives always seems to do a good job to make sure that the construction is well enough to last. One slight issue I had can be seen in the picture where it did arrive with a small crack on the back side, this, of course, isn’t a big deal but is just kind of annoying considering it is still rather new. On the inside, we do get a disc with related artwork to the front of the case and I continue to believe manufacturers should never underestimate being able to class up the overall presentation of a Blu-ray by putting artwork on the disc.
The Packaging 3/5
There may not be a plethora of extras included in this release, however, the one extra worth discussing does center around one of my favorite aspects the special effects. Other than the one “featurette” we are left simply with the usual commentary and trailer that we tend to see with a release that has been out for a bit. The Special Features included are as follows:
- Commentary with Director Jack Sholder and Tim Hunter
- Special Effects Production Footage narrated by Jack Sholder
- This is simply a visual layering that took place to come up with the final result, it is actually kind of cool to see.
Special Features 1.5/5
The Hidden may not be a classic on everyone’s radar but it will forever be etched on mine. It doesn’t really find itself in a specific genre nor does it fall into the category of the greatest films of all time. It is by and large miles more entertaining than you are expecting I assure you that much. At the very least McLachlan does well to embody the role fairly well and makes a distinct impression it is easy to see why he was put into so many roles following. All in all, this will be one you enjoy. That is really what it all comes down to, whether or not a blind buy can leave you pleasantly surprised and in that regard, this one does well. You can purchase this edition HERE.