The police are hunting a man, who has committed several crimes, mostly auto theft. They eventually captured but not after a long chase and only after he crashes his car and is burned. At the hospital, the man rises and then proceeds to the man in the room with him. He then proceeds to open the man's mouth and a creature comes out of his and enters the man. The man then stands up and walks out of the hospital. An FBI agent goes to the police and says he is looking for the man they just caught. When he goes to the hospital, he takes a photo of the man and gives it to the police and says that they have to find him. After a long chase, the detective, who is frustrated, arrests the FBI agent and demands to know what is going on. He says that he is an alien and that the people they have been pursuing have each been taken over by an alien that he is pursuing.
Directed by: Jack Sholder
. Starring: Kyle MacLachlan
, Michael Nouri
, Claudia Christian
, Clarence Felder
, Clu Gulager
, Ed O'Ross
, William Boyett
, Richard Brooks
, Larry Cedar
, Katherine Cannon
, John McCann
, Chris Mulkey
, Lin Shaye
. Music by: Michael Convertino
The Hidden is a movie that should embarrass a lot of people. Everyone who's ever made some stupid, crappy, sci-fi action flick filled with lame characters, lifeless dialog and a plot that would insult the intelligence of a labradoodle should watch this film and be ashamed.
Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) is a Los Angeles detective confronted with an unusual crime spree. A seemingly law abiding citizen has committed a rash of robberies and murders. After one final bank robbery and a high speed chase, Beck and the other cops blast the suspect with shotguns and blow up his car. But as he lies dying in the hospital, the suspect just sits up as though nothing is wrong. He goes over to the man in the next bed, props open his mouth, and a disgusting black creature crawls out of the suspect and into the other man. The suspect collapses dead and the other man sits up and despite serious illness, walks out of the hospital and starts his own crime spree. Beck teams up with an oddly serene FBI agent named Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan) and discovers that the murdering criminal he's chasing is an alien that possesses other creatures to take whatever he wants and kill anyone who gets in his way.
This is a very good piece of entertainment. Most of the 1980s power rock music in it hasn't aged well but other than that, there's very little wrong and a lot right with it.
To begin with, it's a genuinely clever idea. "Alien who comes to Earth to make trouble" is an old standby, but explaining why he's here and what he does by casting him as a simple criminal motivated by base desires is really clever. It grounds the sci-fi aspects of the story in something real and also elevates the "cop vs. crook" action story elements and takes them in a new direction.
The writing lives up to the potential of that concept. It creates a lean, fast moving story and logically moves from point to point with an absolute minimum of exposition. Too many movies are filled with characters telling you what's going on in the story. Like all really good films, The Hidden shows you what's going on. You can see what the characters are like by how the behave, not what they say. And it doesn't explicitly explain everything that happens in the story. It gives you just enough information and allows the audience to figure stuff out for themselves. The writing also gives the characters enough to do besides serving the plot to flesh them out as real people, without being obvious about it.
The acting in The Hidden is also quite noteworthy. Michael Nouri plays the heroic cop to a tee without lapsing into self-aware parody or trying to make the guy smarter or tougher than a real cop would be. The audience also knows a lot more about what's going on than Tom Beck does and Nouri handles that challenge perfectly. It's awful easy for a character to come off as stupid when the story allows the audience to be a step or two ahead of him, but Nouri keeps you engaged with Beck and concerned about him even though you know things he hasn't figured out. The Hidden also features one of the great performances of Kyle MacLachlan's career. I'm not sure anyone's ever played alien impersonating a human quite this well, behaving just differently enough to be noticeable but still letting relatable and understandable emotions come through. William Boyett also deserves praise as he spends the most time on screen portraying the evil alien in a human body. Again, he manages to be just enough off from a normal person to be noticeable without being over the top. He's also charged with telling us things about the alien through his actions instead of words and he pulls it off.
Another noteworthy part of The Hidden is its level of restraint. Yes, there are bloody shootings, explosions, strippers with shotguns, hideously burned corpses and disgusting alien slugs but this isn't a movie that's trying to shock you. It's not about going over the top or assaulting you with craziness and disturbing imagery. It has a certain subtlety to it, which is not something you often find in sci-fi action flicks. Though, the fact it's probably the only R rated movie in history to have a scene in a strip club where the stripper never takes off her shirt is taking that whole subtlety thing too far.
The Hidden proves that a film about an alien slug who loves fast cars, loud music and goes on a killing spree in Los Angeles can be just as smart and as good as any other movie. It doesn't use the fact that it's science-fiction as an excuse to suck.
Review by MBunge from the Internet Movie Database.