Hidden (aka Skjult) [2009 Norwegian Horror]

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Summary: Hidden is a Norwegian movie about the dangers of reliving the past. A semi-effective ghost story, it could have been worse (and it could have better). A few good-to-great moments wait inside, however.

BLOT: (15 Jun 2015 - 08:28:43 PM)

Hidden (aka Skjult) [2009 Norwegian Horror]

personas. Directed and Written by Pal Oie. Starring Kristoffer Jone, Karin Park, and Bjarte Hjelmeland.

gist. Kai Koss returns to his hometown after the death of his horribly abusive mother, and finds that the same townspeople that years ago refused to intervene to help him are now blaming him for non-specified ills. When a pair of camping youth go missing, many look to Kai as suspect number one. As he helps to delve deeper into the mystery, the extent of the abuse and the horror of one night years ago when a family is destroyed starts to catch up with him. Kai is a haunted man, and the past is a monster coming to claim him.

Hand coming out of the dirt, holding a doll mask

review. One of my first thoughts when watching this film was that it was a tragic tale about Norway's lack of lightbulbs [and the sad story about how those few that exist all flicker and fade]. A second thought was that this is a terribly by-the-books ghost/horror movie. How cliche is it? In one scene, the protagonist shuts a bathroom medicine cabinet and sees a ghost standing behind in the reflection. I shit you not. My ire at the tired tropes was somewhat mitigated, though, by the knowledge that in the six or so years since this movie was released, Blumhouse (and others) have parlayed those same tired tropes into moderately successful flicks. Hidden's biggest sin is that it is merely an ok film, neither brilliant nor abysmal. It uses the tools in its toolkit adequately, and that is damning praise. When it pushes the envelope a little—the weird events that occur in the hotel, the odd imagery in the house such as the room full of wrapped dolls, the kind-of-obvious-in-retrospect birthing-mother imagery—it does so in a way that is haunting and effective. It does this semi-rarely, and those nuggets of brilliance will be ultimately lost in scenes where a man chases a shadowy figure through foggy woods and where a person hiding from a baddie is exposed by her cellphone, which is a shame. With earnest hope, I look forward to what the writer/director goes on to do from here, because there is a chance it will be amazing.

final score. 4 (on a scale of 0 to 8), +1 for those who are into ghost films or Nordic films, -1 for those who need films to be original to care about them.

more info. Hidden/Skjult's Wikipedia entry.


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