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|Index||103 reviews in total|
'The Hidden' is one of those movies you might easily pass by on first glance, assuming it's just your standard 1980s b-grade trash. The thing is it's FANTASTIC 1980s b-grade trash! This is one of the most entertaining sci fi thrillers you'll ever see, and lovers of cinematic violence will be thrilled by its body count, which is one of the highest you'll see outside a Hong Kong action movie. Michael Nouri ('Flashdance'... yeah, I know) is a cop tailing an average guy who has seemingly snapped and turned into a homicidal maniac. He is teamed with a kooky FBI agent ('Blue Velvet's Kyle MacLachlan) who knows a lot more than he lets on. Very quickly Kyle goes all 'Starman' on us, and Nouri soon realizes that he's actually on the trail of an extraterrestrial psycho who is taking over people's bodies so he can go on a rampage of murder, car theft, fatty foods and heavy metal music! So okay, this isn't the most cerebral movie in the world but I defy anybody not to have a ball watching it! The supporting cast includes Claudia Christian ('Babylon 5') as a foxy looking stripper, Clu Gulager ('The Killers') as Nouri's superior, and even a blink and you'll miss it cameo from future tough guy legend Danny Trejo ('From Dusk Til Dawn',etc.) as a convict. 'The Hidden' is a non-stop action ride, and the cheesiest 1980s fun this side of 'Maniac Cop'. Highly recommended.
What is "the Hidden"? Exactly what the name implies. It's like searching for a diamond in a pile of coal. There are a lot of stupid, inane sci-fi action pics out there with some boring spin on the alien possession story, but this movie has something that those lack. Compelling characters. What, you say? A character study in sci-fi? Well, yes and no. It is as far away from a after-school TV drama, but the characters do have depth and they aren't cookie board cut-outs. Kyle MacLachlan, before his dark days of "showgirls", and Michael Nouri(Flashdance) star in this buddy-cop film, on the track of a killing-spree that seems to change with different humans. This film is a taught, well acted story. Sometimes creepy, sometimes genuinely funny. The score, although definitively 80s, complements the film with subtle overtones that enhance the viewing experience. A very good film that has a fair amount of blood and gore, but does not revolve around those genre staples. Overall, it's a safe bet for a good time. Watch it with someone you love.
I wrote the following three paragraphs and then scanned some of the
reviews....only to find everyone else saying pretty much the same thing
as I had written, namely that this movie is a hidden gem and enormously
entertaining. Well, add my name to the list of admirers.
Here's a low-grade sci-fi/crime story that is amazingly entertaining. It's a fast- paced account of normal people taking turns being inhabited by an alien being and suddenly turning into out-of-control killing machines. It guess it kind of sounds dumb, but seeing it is better than describing it. The characters in here are wild.
Kyle MacLachlan plays his normal mid-80s strange character, a la Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, etc. Here, he is the FBI agent....or is he?
On the first viewing I found Michael Nouri's role as too abrasive, taking away from some of the fun of viewing this, but, in future viewings he was more tolerable. What also helps this film is a little bit of humor thrown in here and there. It will probably wind up as a cult classic.
Sholder's allegorical B-movie offers unblinking aliens, loud rock
music, car chases, and the presence of Kyle MacLachlan together with a
quiet, emotional core. It's the sort of film that gives low budget
science fiction a good name, one that effortlessly combines a sharp
view of society together with the brisk pace of 'The Terminator' (1984)
At one level, 'The Hidden' is a film about acquisition, by implication digging at the American Dream. The aliens acquire human bodies, much as humans might go shopping, casually discarding one form for another when it is worn out or no longer wanted. The possessed Jonathan P. Miller sees a ghetto blaster on display, takes it after clubbing the salesman to death. A little later on, after viewing the Ferrari just sold to a arms and antique dealer, he states glibly 'I want that car'. Its new owner has just mused 'Do I trade in my Mercedes or just hang on to it?' (his white suit ironically anticipating imminent mortality.) Later, in his final incarnation as Senator Holt,like a child who has made its mind up, the alien can announce just as decidedly and without any sense of irony 'I want to be President'. Power in American politics can be 'bought' just as easily as a cassette player, its accession just an impulsive decision by the strong. Apart from the scheming necessary to exchange bodies, what is most disturbing about this invasion is its relative guilelessness, how the alien 'Sees something. He takes it.' Other SF films might offer up a plan to be defeated; 'The Hidden' replaces galactic conquest with ghastly cupidity.
Kyle MacLachlan makes an excellent Lloyd Gallagher, a weird 'FBI' presence instantly suggesting that of Agent Dale Cooper, whom he was to play 3 years later. MacLachlan had previously only appeared in two other Lynch productions : 'Dune' (1984) and, more notably, 'Blue Velvet' (1986). Sholder was quick to take advantage of MacLachlan's quirkiness and androgynous appearance, ideal for a part in which ambivalence and social disorientation are essential. There's a faint echo too of 'The Man Who Fell to Earth' (1976) in this character separated from his loved ones, a lonely survivor on Earth.
The title of 'The Hidden' refers most obviously to the invader lurking within humans, only emerging to swop bodies. But there's something else, equally hard to see, and only gradually expressed: the emotional link which binds kind and kin. The recognition of these ties is one of the film's most rewarding aspects. Beck's home and family life are both a new, and a familiar, experience to Gallagher. His question 'Your little girl. She is very special to you?' is both naïve and affirmative, a means to assign the value of such relationships in a way initially quite lost on Beck. 'Gallagher's melancholia predominates during his visit to the Detective's home (despite the humorous nature of his indigestion). His sense of loss, which overshadows so much of his mood is only finally resolved in the last scene, as 'Beck' is welcomed back to life by his daughter.
Men, a woman, even a dog, are all possessed by the alien before it ends up as the Senator. Both the bespectacled de Vries ('that Jack - kinda quiet. What'd he do? Rob a bank?') and the sedentary Miller are ostensible squares, mild-mannered citizens whose ensuing transgressions are completely out of character. Even the police Lieutenant, one of the alien's last victims, apparently lives alone with his dog. Their violent actions are faintly ludicrous, even to the point of raising nervous laughter. When Miller smashes the radio playing 'I believe in sunshine', after glaring at it with alien incredulity for a long moments, it invariably raises a chuckle in the audience, as does his belching in the diner. Far more of a frisson is created by the take-over of the stripper. Her already aggressive on-stage sexuality, and existing control over the patrons has been supplemented by something far more dangerous. To a (largely male?) audience, this is female empowerment brought home with a vengeance, her cool return of the gaze unnerving.
Sholder's uneven career contains at least one other good film. 12:01 (1993) is an effective and amusing variation on the 'Groundhog Day' theme co-starring Martin Landau. Others are best passed over in silence. It may well be that and 'The Hidden' will remain his best work, as they still play well and remains fresh on repeated viewings. A sequel to the present film followed, by a different director, but it was not in the same league.
This movie is best seen without knowing much about the plot. It starts
off as standard action movie where you follow a policeman who is
investigating some strange event of a seemingly normal person kind of
going crazy and suddenly committing thefts, violence, escaping the
police. As the story develops, the story turns in unexpected but very
The pace is kept high, never does ones attention wander. The acting is good and the story comes over as very real. I won't reveal too much here of what happens later as there are many elements of surprise which adds to the whole experience.
This is one of the movies that I have enjoyed watching several times. My vote is a 9.
The Hidden is an unknown gem of a movie. That it's sci-fi probably kept
popularity down, but it's one of the best sci-fi films
Michael Nouri proves once again that he deserves every leading man role he gets, and the ever quirky Kyle MacLachlan is at the top of his weird form.
Highly recommended for an evening of unexpected fun.
This movie is extremely well-made for what it is. Fascinating,
thought-provoking, it surprised the Hell out of me when I first saw it. This
could have been a "gimmick" sci-fi movie, but it's handled deftly by the
director, who I had never heard of, and by MacLachlan, who gives a terrific,
sensitive, multi-layered performance.
For that matter, most of characters have real dimension to them. This movie transcends a rather bland, run-of-the-mill science fiction story with the chemistry between its characters and the snappy pacing. I like the way the themes of identity and compassion are actually explored instead of just exploited.
In the 1987 sci-fi actioner "The Hidden", an evil, body-switching alien with
a taste for Ferraris, loud music, and murder is wreaking havoc. Only another
alien, impersonating an FBI agent and teamed with an ordinary cop, knows how
to stop it.
"The Hidden" is an irrepressible, high-spirited genre flick full of screeching car chases, sprays of bullets, and shattering glass that leaves more than a few casualties in its wake. It has alot of fun with the body-switching premise and maintains a strong sense of humor throughout. Kyle MacLachlan's performance as the unearthly FBI agent offers another great reason to watch. This is the perfect film for those in search of a rock 'em, sock 'em good time.
This starts out with a bang, literally, and doesn't let up for the
entire film. The picture zips along, whether with speedy car chases or
interesting suspense, keeping the audience on their toes. We can credit
director Sholder for keeping things exciting but I also suspect this
was one those scripts that wasn't tampered with much (which is as it
should be for most scripts, but isn't in Hollywood). For sheer level of
entertainment as a sci-fi thriller, this approaches Terminator (84) -
the one to beat. Some of the premise is similar, featuring an
unstoppable menace. You're always guaranteed an adrenaline rush with
scenes of cops firing their weapons repeatedly at someone who just
won't fall down; they may slow him or it down, perhaps stagger it, but
in the end they need something more than just bullets.
This pic represents a fortunate confluence of personnel and events. The two lead actors, MacLachlin & Nouri, had just reached their respective peaks in their careers and both were at the top of their game (both careers went into downswing afterward but it can't be blamed on this film). In fact, I'd venture that this film contains both their best roles. Nouri is the strong-willed earth-man cop and MacLachlan takes full advantage of his unusual persona to play an alien visitor (sort of like Jeff Bridges in "Starman"/1984, but Bridges had to try harder). The supporting cast are all great too, with many having to play two versions of themselves. Who can forget Christian as an exotic dancer suddenly gone gun-crazy? There's a lot of inherent humor in such scenes. The best and most memorable must be the one with Boyett acquiring a Ferrari in his own alien style. Just unforgettable.
Unfortunately, there was a forgettable and quite awful sequel several years later. But this remains one of the most unique, vivid alien visitor/invader films of the eighties and nineties.
A series of bizarre, unusual crimes are committed by seemingly ordinary
citizens of Los Angeles. L.A. Police Detective (Micheal Nouri) is
totally baffled by these strange crimes. When a mysterious FBI Agent
(Kyle MacLachlan) is helping the police detective with these
inexplicable robberies and murders but not telling the detective that
it is a demonic extraterrestrial creature is invading the bodies of
everyday citizens and transforming them into inhuman killers.
Directed by Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2:Freddy's Revenge, Wishmaster 2:Evil Never Dies, Alone in the Dark) made a entertaining, wildly violent, kinetic, sci-fi action/thriller that is even touching with a sense a humor. This independent film has high production values and it was made with a budget of under $5 million. This was a Small Hit for then independent studio:New Line Cinema. MacLachlan and Nouri are good in the film.
DVD has an fine anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer (Also in Pan & Scan) with an digitally remastered-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (Also in the original mono Sound). DVD has an running commentary track by the director and fan/friend of the filmmaker:Tim Hunter (River's Edge). DVD also has unused footage, never seen before special effects production footage with narration from the director and the original theatrical trailer. The film has become a Cult Classic and it is also one of the most underrated films of the 1980's. This film is a fast, violent, edge of your seat thrill ride. Written by Bob Hunt (Hunt-who is actually screenwriter:Jim Kouf). Kouf is best known for his screenplay of "The Stakeout Films" and the little seen "Gang Related". Terrific music score by Micheal Convertino. (**** ½/*****).
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