Two weeks ago I watched Stranger Things. I was hooked right from the X-Filesesque opening scene. By the end of the first episode I was in love. I am a glutton have problems with my addictive behaviors. So, as a junkie eight episodes just wasn’t enough. I had to find everything the Duffer Brothers ever made. My cursory Google search uncovered Hidden and Wayward Pines. Only two! Feh! Oh well, better than nothing I supposed.
According to Wikipedia they only are credited with four episodes of Wayward Pines, so I passed on it, but the Duffer Brothers were wholly responsible for Hidden. And it was available through Neflix’s DVD service. Excellent!
And then I watched it.
I enjoyed Hidden up to the very end. It cheesed out with an all-too-convenient happy ending. I could have let this slide but the cascade of reflections which the ending caused cast the rest of Hidden into question. Damn! I really wanted everything the Duffer Brothers touched to be gold.
In the Wikipedia article I read that Hidden caught M. Night Shyamalan eye (which lead to them working on Wayward Pines and beyond). See, Hidden has a twist, and we know how Shyamalan loves a twist. Unlike Shyamalan’s bile, the Duffer Brothers’ twist doesn’t insult the audience by dismissing everything that comes before it with a “look how clever I am” middle finger. Their twist makes you go, “daaaaaaaaaaaamn!” Then you go back over all the cues the movie was giving to see how they were building up to this other thing. SUH-weet.
Well, mostly their twist works.
I write “mostly” because once the full back story is revealed some of the later motivations of the characters become questionable. Truth be told, their questionable motivations are outright contrivances, making them slaves to a plot that has to get to a predetermined spot as opposed to moving along organically. Still, it is a interesting twist that doesn’t waste the first hour and fifteen minutes you’ve invested in the movie up to that point.
Technically it’s a good horror film. The atmosphere and suspense was spot on. The setting, an old bomb shelter, was perfect for that trapped, claustrophobic feel. Thinking about spending 300 plus days in there really does make you question if this is a secure refuge or a prison. Not much difference between six or half dozen, right?
I usually don’t mention acting because these movies should meet a certain level of competence given their budgets, actors, distributors, etc. Therefore I don’t feel like it’s necessary to bring up the acting. Yet, this time I want to mention that Emily Alyn Lind, though young, was convincing as Zoe. There were a few moments where it was obvious she was “acting” but for 12 or 13 (depending on when this was filmed) she did a good job.
So, Hidden wasn’t nearly as good as Stranger Things. Eh. For their first go Hidden is an entertaining movie. Considering that Shyamalan’s been working for years and keeps churning out crap, I can cut the Duffer Brothers some slack. So they’re fallible. Eh. I can deal with that. That is, so long as they don’t screw up season two of Stranger Things…