Most of the films that come through the After Dark Horrorfest are massively hit or miss. Most of them are great ideas but rarely come through as executed in ways to match the concepts. This is not how "Hidden" accomplishes its successes. In fact, its story is so relatively simple with its twists and turns being done to death in the psychological Horror sub genre, that its a shock that this film didn't just fall under its own 'too smart for its own good' weight. Its the vision and execution on this rather basic script that make "Hidden" the intense and atmospheric watch it is.
Kai Koss (Joner), or KK as he is known to the people of his home town/area, is coming home 19 years after he ran away. His mother has just died and he has come to finish some business. His childhood memories have been suppressed for so long, since his mother terrorized and tortured him as a child, that when he comes back his sanity seems to be teetering on the edge of breaking. When he discovers that on the night of his escape another young boy went missing he desperately searches for answers on some hunches. To make matter more complicated people are starting to fall prey to an un-faced killer and he's looking more and more to be the suspect.
The heart of "Hidden", also known as "Skjult" outside of its release in the After Dark Horrorfest, comes from the chemistry that director Pål Øie has to spark from Kristoffer Joner (whom plays our lead) and the atmosphere of the film. Since Joner has to essentially carry the film with just his eye work and decent into madness (or is it truth?) acting due to the film's serious use of potent but sparse dialogue and minute secondary characters, its vital that the audience connects with him and he connects with atmosphere of the situation. He does. His collapse before our eyes is impactful. Although many of the supporting cast never reach near the chemistry that he exudes, its his work that truly carries this film.
It also helps that our director Pål Øie has a serious eye for subtle detail work and solid pacing to help it out. Although the film does feel a bit over long at times with so many red herrings and plot shifts that are obviously done to keep it more intense than realistic, it really works on the nerves of its audience nicely and uses its scenery and sets beautifully (the thick forest and run down house make for some nice scares in the dark).
By the end of the film, "Hidden" hits a lot of great successes in its time. The blurred lines of reality, sanity, and guilt make this film great for some artsy film discussion and the execution of the film is expertly done. Although at times it seems the story is a bit more cliche than it wants to be, "Hidden" pulls a lot of positive elements out of thin air. That, if there is anything great in film, is respectable at least. One of the best films that After Dark Horrorfest has released.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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