Director: Brett Leonard
Loving husband and father Hatch Harrison (Goldblum) is brought back to life after a nasty car accident. His second chance at living comes with a price though. Not only has he brought something from the afterlife back with him, but he is now psychically linked with Goth poster-boy serial killer Vassago (Sisto). Heaven, hell and murder collide.
Hatch Harrison was pronounced dead on arrival. After two hours, the doctors brought him back. But he didn't come back alone.
"Hideaway" is a film adaptation of a book by genre scribe Dean R. Koontz (who also wrote "Watchers"). The screenplay, written by Neal Jimenez ("River’s Edge") and Andrew Kevin Walker ("Se7en"), took liberties when translating the source material, but that's to be expected.
Yes, there’s much less character and situational development in the film than there was in the book. The character of Regina was also drastically altered, where she was a young crippled adopted girl in the novel, but a healthy teen pre-Clueless Alicia Silverstone in the film. The many changes pissed off the purists and even Koontz himself publicly lambasted the film, not content with how it turned out. As for little whore me, well, I actually read the book before I saw the movie and adored it. But while watching the flick, I managed to set aside my literary experience and enjoy the celluloid ride for what it was. The book was one thing, the film another. Two different mediums, two different pieces of entertainment, two different animals.
"Hideaway", the movie, acted like a high-octane horror shot, going straight into my veins. Yes, it sent me into a “God, I love this shite” tizzy. This energetic foray into darkness sported a “no fucking around” pace, unapologetic brutality, potent suspense, efficient drama while lightly tackling common, yet always fascinating, themes (good-evil, heaven-hell). To top that off, all of it was sizzled in badass death metal tunes and intoxicating stylized visuals. Now’s that’s a meal! The stellar cast on display was also a pleasant stab in my dead heart starting with the always aloof and odd Jeff Goldblum whose unique demeanor did wonders for the role. You just can’t go wrong with Jeff Goldblum in a turtleneck giving off intense stares left, right and center. I love that guy and I can watch him for hours! The second standout acting dance was the uber-kool Vassago tackled by then unknown Jeremy Sisto. I remember taking notice of Sisto when I first saw the film on the big screen in 1995 and I’m happy that he has since become somewhat of a “Scream, King” with "May", "Wrong Turn" and "Dead and Breakfast" under his belt. His rendition of Vassago was a chilling and realistic show-stopper that was only matched by the kool trench coat and slick shades the lad was wearing. Now that’s a psycho I’d gladly kill with! He too kool for school!
Granted, the film didn’t delve into its substance as much as it could have and was fairly generic when it came to the “serial killer” screenplay structure it displayed. I saw every plot turn and twist coming miles away. Having said that, they were still enthralling to sit through nonetheless. My biggest pet peeve though was the shoddy SFX used to represent the typical and, at times, vaginal-looking (?!?) dominion of Heaven and Hell. The “Atari reject” effects looked silly in 1995 and looked even worse today. A more subtle interpretation of both realms would’ve worked better, in my opinion. Actually, if I was behind this film, I would’ve nixed trying to showcase heaven and hell in a “material” manner altogether. Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that leaves the harsher impact.
Overall, "Hideaway" was a dark, unrepentant and highly engaging piece of Gothic flash candy. Sure, it’s not the character study that was the book, but it came through in its own right. When in dire need of a hallucinatory, morbid and aggressive fix, I always find my way back to this flick. Now step into my "Hideaway", I have a sculpture I want to show you…SLASH! SLASH! SLASH!
Although not overly gory, it still gets ugly with self-inflicted lighter burns, a bloody razor cut, a self-stabbing in the gut, messy slit throats and swift stab in the eye.
Jeff Goldblum (Hatch) is either a genius or a weirdo (or both). In any case, the man owned the screen with his unorthodox performance. Jeremy Sisto (Vassago) gave a grounded and frightening show. His deep voice worked very well! Good stuff! Christine Lahti (Lindsey) is a solid actress all around and she was responsible for igniting some of the more poignant dramatic scenes in this film. Alicia Silverstone (Regina) has a great mouth, not much more needs to be said. Alfred Molina (Dr. Jonas) managed to convey his role’s emotional gamut within the little screen time he was given. Good job!
T & A
The ladies get Sisto and a pumped up Goldblum in the buff, while wet get Alicia Silverstone’s oh-so yummy looking mouth screaming out: “Chew me please!”
Leonard put his film out with high energy, money shots, gripping slow motion and all kinds of slick camera angles. The LSD bluish-reddish lighting, the snazzy editing and the grim atmosphere was also mucho appreciated by yours truly.
We get a powerful chorale-like score, some fly death metal (Front Line Assembly, Miranda Sex Garden, Godflesh) and a gnarly use of KMFDM's kick ass ditty "Go to Hell".
"Hideaway", the book, was a richer and more in-depth experience than the film. With that said, CAN WE GET OVER IT NOW? Its cinematic counterpart played a different game and it's one that I wholeheartedly grooved on. Sure, the computer animation was tacky, but if you can get past that, you’ll find a lean, mean, razor sharp heavy metal horror ride waiting for you. Snap this bad boy’s neck and he’ll thank you for it by slitting your throat from ear to ear. I’m not sure what that means, so let me back that up with: HIDEAWAY FREAKIN' ROCKS! Let the stoning begin…
Did you know that Tobe Hooper’s "The Funhouse" was an adaptation of a Dean R. Koontz's book of the same name? I didn’t. You learn something new every day.
Rae Dawn Chong of “Commando” fame has a small part here as Rose, the psychic.
The film was shot in British Columbia, Canada.
Jeff Goldblum is a champ!