Action SciFi
The Hidden
.
Dir: Jack Sholder
Star: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1987
Format: DVD R1
'

This is you're average tale of fast cars, sex, aliens, and rock and roll.

Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) is the best detective in the division, only he is having trouble solving a series of crimes committed by people with previously clean records. As soon as the perpetrator of the crimes is killed another seems to take their place committing similar crimes. The only person who seems to understand this is a young FBI agent, Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan), who has been assigned to work with Beck. Things get weird when each of the criminals display the exact same characteristics (love of rock music, and a pons ion for Ferraris). Added to this is the strange behaviour of his partner and Beck soon begins to suspect there may be only one criminal who may not be human, and that Lloyd knows far more than he is telling.

The movie starts with a bank robbery and brilliant car chase, as the robber escapes in a black Ferrari only to be gunned down by the police. The way this is handled is a sign for what is to come, Jack Sholder's (Nightmare on Elm Street 2) direction is very good. The chase is shot mainly from the cars point of view. This is a somewhat old fashioned way of filming a car chase, but it is much more involving and exciting (for another example see Ronin). Throughout the film the action sequences are well directed and for other examples see the shoot out in the mannequin warehouse, and the slow motion shoot out at the end.

The script is strong and contains a lots of action and humour. Some of the comedy comes from the 'fish out of water' jokes as the aliens try to blend in as humans, for example eating alkaseltza, while more comes from a good crop of one liners. This does not distract from the action but adds to it, ensuring that the tone never becomes to dark (this would have been a mistake, as it is impossible to take a film about rock and roll loving, Ferrari driving, aliens that seriously). It is interesting to note that scriptwriter Jim Kouf (who went on to write the screenplay for Rush Hour) was so aggrieved at the changes made by the director that initially he removed his name from the project. However the changes that the director made actually help the film, making it far more entertaining.

The main actors are remarkably good, especially considering that most of them are TV actors. Michael Nouri provides a likeable lead (although he did not get on with the director), but it is Kyle MacLachlan that steals the show (despite a dodgy 80's hair do). He plays the FBI agent with the required amount of enigmatic weirdness that fits in perfectly within the plot of the film. Other top performances are provided Babylon 5's Claudia Christian (what about that red dress), and William Boyett, as the hosts for the alien.

Well there has to be a down side and fortunately it is not huge. In this case however it is the budget, which is not very big. Clever use has been made of what money there is, but some of the effects (not the creature effects) must have been a little ropey even then. This also shows in forced location choices, and the selection of the music (strictly sound-a-like 80's A.O.R. There are no big names or well known tracks which could have added to things immensely).

Overall The Hidden is a great film. It uses clever direction and a witty action packed script which contains a lot of original ideas to tell what is basically an Invasion of the body snatchers story. This is basically good entertainment and is well worth watching again. Be warned though there was a highly inferior sequel made in 1994, the Hidden II, and this really should be avoided.

Tagline

It killed 37 people, robbed 6 banks, 2 liquor stores, a record shop and stole 2 ferraris. Now the fun starts. It just took over a police station.

Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD
Picture 16:9 Very good with nice clean copy of the print being used.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 nice clear 5.1 mix, although spatially it is not up to much.
Features Directors commentary
Early effects footage with commentary
Cast biographies
Verdict A good disc for a film this old with a fair selection of extras. On the downside the picture format is not that which is mentioned as being specially prepared in the commentary. This re-framing of the wide screen print has been clumsily done often removing the top of the frame. It is to be hoped that a definitive version will be released one day.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home