Hideaway
HIDEAWAY. 1995

Director: Brett Leonard

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Jeff Goldblum is Hatch, a family man who is dead for an hour & a half in a cold river, journeying in a world of light until, resuscitated in the hospital by an experimental method.

Hideaway (1995) insinuates that Hatch when returning from the dead brought back two powers. One he believes is some essence of his daughter, who died a few years earlier in a hit & run accident. He had briefly encountered her as a guide in the realm of light, & she may still be protecting him from something.

The other power, the "something," has connected Hatch to a serial killer, through whose eyes he sees, & who in turn can see through Hatch's eyes. He has a living daughter, a teenager testing her parents for increasing independence, & the serial killer has seen her through our hero's eyes, & marked her as a future victim.

Christine Lahte plays the wife who believes her husband is paranoid & dangerous due to brain damage & trauma from having been dead. She does not believe his afterlife experiences were anything but hallucination, & there's certainly no tangible evidence apart from her husband's terror that their daughter is being stalked by a psychopath.

None of the film's content is novel or new. The idea of near-death experiences bringing something evil back from afterlife is the most interesting story component, borrowed largely from Flatliners (1990). The FX sequences of the afterlife are cartoony computer animation, not as captivating as the similar animation used for Lawnmower Man (1992) from the same director/writer, & not as well sustained.

Unfortunately, this best part of the story is hardly more than a set-up for a mystery about the serial killer & the menacing of Hatch's own daughter. The resultant film is disappointing despite the promising start.

Seeing through the eyes of a serial killer is from The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). The idea was also recycled in Body Bags (1993), In Dreams (1999), Suspect Zero (2004) & other films, including even episodes of X Files, Smallville & Medium.

It's a good horror film because of excellent casting, but the script is otherwise B horror average. Most of the performances despite a high level of competence in performing aren't hugely interesting. Alicia Silverstone as daughter Regina is just a basic "menaced teenager" without much in the way of individual personality. Christine Lahte as "unsupportive disbelieving impatient wife" is an annoying source of frustration, not contributing to the suspense until very late in the tale.

Jeremy Sisto is the hell-touched psychopath brought back from a dark realm of punishing death. This was potentially an extremely cool role. His character is also named Jeremy though often claming to be Vassago. The script never clarifies if Vassago is a demon distinct from Jeremy or not, & there could've been more to him than we ever see. He comes off, alas, not as a psycho who has literally been to hell & back, but as just another garden variety B horror killer of hapless maidens.

He is constructing a great work of demonic art, in his secret "hideaway" underground beneath an abandoned carnival. This construction of scrap metal, wire, & corpses turns out to be, alas, no especially big deal, as the art design is awful throughout the film. A superior artist in charge, with a truly macabre sense of beauty & the grotesque, might've made it work, but it's ho hum as it stands.

So we're left with no one but Jeff Goldbloom to carry the film, being the increasingly hysterical father who has undergone a supernatural journey & must now face his greatest fear. Again the script doesn't help him out very much, but he's such a fine actor he needs only to look around & mug for the camera to be interesting. He definitely makes more of his role than is inherent in the writing.

If viewed as a B horror with better casting than expected & one excellent performance (Jeff's), Hideaway is a success. It had the potential of being an A film, however, & the writing sabotaged it.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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