“Hidden is an accomplished film”
by Nav Qateel
A family are forced to hide out in a fallout shelter after they learn their town may have been exposed to a mysterious and deadly virus. Brothers Matt and Ross Duffer make their movie writing and directing debut with the low budget horror Hidden. The Duffer’s previously penned four episodes of the thoroughly enjoyable Wayward Pines, a Lynchian TV show that helped showcase the creativity and talent of the writers.
Hidden opens on the small family of three already occupying the fallout shelter, having moved there almost a year before. Ray (Alexander Skarsgård), Claire (Andrea Riseborough) and 9-year-old daughter Zoe (Emily Alyn Lind) are just barely getting by. The supply of canned food is running low, water isn’t easy to pump and the living conditions are grimy and dull. They also live by a strict set of rules, with the most important rule being number 2: “Never lose control.”
We’re fed periodic flashbacks of how the family came to be in the shelter and we’re given a somewhat rough idea of what the epidemic was that drove them underground to safety in the first place. This being a single location film, not to mention its low budget status, there was always a danger that it could have began to feel boring. However, the Duffer’s really nailed the pacing, which was helped immensely with the timing of flashbacks and the way the audience were introduced to each scene. Indeed, this was handled with a level of maturity that’s rarely witnessed in a debut such as this.
As one would expect from this trio of actors, the performances were stellar throughout, with each of the cast getting a chance to shine. The dynamics of the characters was quite interesting, as father and daughter appeared to have a much stronger bond than mother and daughter, but not in the normal way of most families. Zoe would always look to Ray for support, knowing that he would overrule Claire on most decisions.
Matt and Ross Duffer’s polished thriller-horror Hidden is an accomplished film with a satisfying conclusion. It’s also very much a grown-up, mature movie that’s a far cry from the typical low-budget offerings we’re more accustomed to. This is a film I have no trouble recommending. Go see it!