Review: Hideout

Written and directed by Kris Roselli, evading police at a remote farmhouse after fumbling a robbery, four criminals discover that the family living there is not who they appear to be. Starring: Katie Lyons, Audrey Kovár, Chris Wolfe, Bryan Enright, Janice LaFlam, Mark A. Baum and Eric Francis Melaragni.

Kris Roselli kicks things off in high gear with a close-call escape from a botched robbery, it has a high energy and nicely fast editing, to really get a grip on its audience straight off the bat. Those skills are impressively consistent throughout, the editing work (which is also by writer, director Roselli) keeps things pushing forward. There’s always a temptation with any sort of thriller or horror film to linger on scenes and it tends to backfire, instead of letting a scene land, it can take away from the atmosphere and they smoothly avoid that pitfall here. Atmosphere is without doubt one of Hideout’s key strengths, beginning with the strong opening but it’s helped in no short part thanks to the work of its score. Jonathan Price perfectly scores the film to hold a tense, eery air, holding on to the idea that there are endless possibilities of where things could go. It also adds a great deal of variety with its directorial choices, not getting stuck on one style of angle or framing, constantly changing as it moves forward.

The story capitalises on a factor that many overlook in the horror genre, the fact that just because you have a weapon and potentially power over the situation, doesn’t override that in a stranger’s house, you’ve no idea what you’ve walked into. The way that the writing moves throughout holds a nice spooky edge, it hands you all the clues or foreshadowing you need to piece the larger story together, without throwing it out openly. There are a few weaker moments, and its final scenes can feel slightly overboard compared with the relatively minimal use of violence or effects earlier on. It’s a shame to see it make a fairly cliched choice with the ending, it felt as though it had built potential for a more subtly sinister, under your skin type resolution, but ultimately chooses an overt style. As well as there being a few loose threads and typical illogical actions you’d find in any horror.

One of the other factors that helps it succeed is the mix of characters, our core three plus their hostages all feel like very different personality types, which helps round out the perspective. The cast is a strong bunch, Chris Wolfe presents the classic tough guy, Katie Lyons is the good person who got themselves wrapped up in a bad situation, and Bryan Enright is the middle ground, not quite good but not entirely bad. Then there’s Audrey Kovár’s Rose, victim to the home invasion but delightfully strange and throwing up huge red flags that our bunch of criminals are just the right satisfyingly slow enough to pick up on. They all give solid performances, the only weak spot is occasionally when a bigger emotion is asked of Enright’s Kyle, the cracks begin to show, the performance can become over theatrical and doesn’t fit in with the tense, dark tone to the story.

Hideout feels like a mix of crime thriller and final girl style horror, it’s fast paced and tense but with a dark, eery edge. There’s a compelling atmosphere that runs throughout, it’s violent or harsh when it needs to be, but for the most part plays to a more subtle, suspenseful style. The story is neither simple nor overly complicated, it finds a great middle ground to give itself a couple extra layers without getting too messy. It’s a strong cast and the direction, editing and score are all working extremely well together to create a gripping experience. This is the type of horror that even people who aren’t typically fans of the genre, will find plenty to enjoy.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

Available now on VOD in the US, Canada, UK & Ireland

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