I have never understood why Jack Sholder’s The Hidden isn’t better known. It’s got a little — sometimes a lot — of everything. It has action, science fiction, horror, splatter, elaborate chase sequences, quirks, and even a spot-on (and to the point) critique of country music (you’ll know it when you see it). The story is engaging and well-developed. The film knows just how to dole out its information — enough to tease you, but not enough to make you stop wondering what the hell is going on. It’s a smart film that starts with the story already in progress and it never really stops to tell you anything, insisting rather that you pick up what’s happening along the way. With that in mind, I’m not detailing the plot beyond the basics of it being about FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) in pursuit of some kind of intergalactic being that takes over humans and then uses their bodies to satisfy its appetite for violence, loud music, gluttony, fast cars and murder. In a way, it’s the ultimate alien villain since it seems to have no interest in anything but pleasing itself. (He may well be the perfect embodiment of the self-involved “me generation” of the 1980s.) That much becomes apparent in the first few scenes of the film. Beyond that, you’re on your own. It’s extremely entertaining and very efficiently made. If there’s a sour note in the film, it’s blow-dried Michael Nouri as the perplexed police officer teamed with MacLachlan’s FBI agent. Nouri plays the role in a manner that suggests he thinks he’s too good for the movie (goodness knows why) and that he’d rather be elsewhere. It doesn’t sink the film by any means, but don’t be surprised if you want to slap him.
Orbit DVD is screening The Hidden Sunday, April 7 at 10:30 p.m. at the Admiral.