Monday, February 17, 2014

A Mindful of Red Hoodies: Hidden (2009)

Hidden (Skjult) (Norway, 2009)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Cecilie A. Mosli, Bjarte Hjelmeland

Kai Koss had an abusive mother. It's been years since he had ran away from home and accidentally caused a car crash that killed another young boy's parents but now, as an adult raised by foster parents, he returns after finding out his mother passed away, seeing this as a way to confront his fear.

Strange visions begin to plague him soon, both imagined and unexplained, as he continues to struggle away from his dark past, but his situation went for the worse when two teenagers suddenly goes missing one night after they decided to break in to Kai's old house. Some suspected that he had something to do with it, but Koss thought otherwise with a suspect of his own: the other boy from that night of his escape, Peter, who many believe had died he accidentally ran through a cliff in panic. No body was found then save for the boy's shoes, however, so Koss is more than determined to solve this mystery and prove his innocence.

More murders soon occurs, all around Koss' gloomy estate, it's only a matter of time before the truth reveals itself, and Koss will have no choice but to face it.

Horror in Norway can be a hit or a miss; over the time, some good ones did came out to entertain our bloody needs. The more memorable ones being the 2006 snowbound slasher Cold Prey and its first sequel (the Third movie, not so much), as well as the Naziploitation zombie/slasher Dead Snow, but among others, we also got trash heaps like Hora, a cheap exploitation type that was simply a retelling of I Spit On Your Grave, and mediocre ones like Manhunt, a slasher film about people hunting people. (And that's it) Hidden falls in between these two, it's not good, but nor is it a total waste.

What I like from this film is that there's some well-handled atmosphere here done away with creepy shots of the dilapidated house (complete with littered creepy dolls and soaked up walls), a sense of alienation as nearly every other character around town are either suspicious or just plain uncaring and scares such as a pair of child's hands suddenly reaching out out of the shadows and ghostly visages that may or may not be there.

If I wasn't aware that this film is part-slasher, I would have thought this another one of those spook movies popularized by Asian horror such as the Ring or The Grudge with all this Gothic sensibilities and psychological trauma; nonetheless, we eventually get a red-hooded killer murdering people who makes a rather creepy onscreen debut wearing a doll's face mask. This element in the story was supposed to be mystery for us and our lead to figure out, but the way it's handled is where I'm a little bit disappointed; some clues were given and played out with twists, turns and red herrings in an attempt to sway us off into figuring it out soon. Some worked, some just gave it away, in the end the conclusion is nothing but a little teasing that could have been more shocking if it wasn't so obvious.

Those who are expecting a typical bloodletting will surely be disappointed; the kills here are tame and most of them are simply implied (the nastiest being a sharpened plank to the eye), focusing instead on the plight and horrors one traumatized man had to lived through again and their everlasting effects on his psyche. There's more psychological horror here than actual dismemberment, but I'm quite open to this approach as it did gave me something rather different from your average hack-a-thon and it is properly acted. Tension is well around the movie and these scenes simply had their moments, just wished some of the flow wasn't so draggy.

Skjult is a good watch for patient viewers and lovers of psycho-chillers; not a title I would grab for keeps, but I would rent it again if I have the time and felt like it.

1 male and 1 female immolated in car crash
1 elderly female seen dead
1 male killed offcamera, clothes seen
1 female killed offcamera
1 male missing, presumably killed
1 male stabbed on the eye with a sharpened plank
1 male impaled through with a javelin
1 male falls off a cliff
Total: 9


  1. I agree that this one's not for everyone, but omg, it scared the crap outta me. Amazing scarefest!