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New Line Home Cinema presents
The Hidden / The Hidden 2 (1987)

"He sees something he wants, he steals it. If something gets in his way, he kills it. And right now, he's hiding out in your city."
- Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: February 24, 2006

Stars: Michael Nouri, Kyle MacLachlan, Raphael Sbarge
Other Stars: Kate Hodge, Claudia Christian
Director: Jack Sholder, Seth Pinsker

MPAA Rating: R for (sci-fi horror violence and gore, language, a sex scene)
Run Time: 03h:10m:22s (combined)
Release Date: August 30, 2005
UPC: 794043751929
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+B+B+ B-

DVD Review

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the tale of alien beings taking over human bodies, is something that terrifies even the strongest-willed moviegoer. Director Jack Sholder tried his hand at modernizing the same basic concept in the 1987 film, The Hidden. Before production, Sholder was best known for A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge. He proved that given the right material, he can excel as a sci-fi/horror filmmaker, as The Hidden is still very highly regarded among genre fans everywhere. Unfortunately, Sholder and the original cast are not a part of the pathetic 1994 sequel, The Hidden II, which is yet another example of producers who didn't quit while they were ahead.

The Hidden begins as Detective Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) is on the scene of a bank robbery that evolves into a car chase. When Beck thinks he has everything under control, the robber appears to vomit something up. This "something" is an alien being that jumps into another body, possessing this new host and wreaking more havoc around town. Joining Beck is FBI Agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan), who seems a little strange himself. The two continue to try and track down the body of the unfortunate person the alien is inhabiting, but when one of these law enforcers turns out to be something more than what we originally thought, the whole dynamic of the investigation could change.

After everything that's come since, it's pretty remarkable that this film still stands up as one of the better low-budget, sci-fi/horror flicks of the last 20 years. Whether you're partial to loads of gooey gore, love a meaty plot twist or two, or would rather spend your time watching things blow up, there's pretty much something for every genre fan. One of the more under-appreciated elements is its underlying dark comedy. The comedic interaction between Nouri and MacLachlan is great chemistry, neither settling for standard buddy/cop movie fluff.

The alien is generally scary, regardless of what form it is appearing in. However, its most appealing form is in the body of stripper Brenda Lee Van Buren (Claudia Christian). Christian (Hexed) is striking, but also has sort of a creepy vibe to her appearance, making her a perfect choice to play an alien host if there ever was one.

While the original deserves the red carpet DVD treatment, New Line has decided to throw The Hidden II on this disc as well. It's a complete mess, marred by awful acting, a ridiculous story, and is without any of the charm and overall fun the original continues to bring to the table.

The alien from the first managed to leave a few eggs that have spawned equally menacing creatures. Detective Beck (now played by Michael Welden) hasn't exactly been himself since the end of the first film. Despite a worn-down body and troubled relationship between them, Beck teams up with his daughter Juliet (Kate Hodge) to track down these creatures and save the Earth once again.

Unfortunately, this sequel tries to rely on its special effects alone, forgetting about the tight storytelling and effective scares that marked the original. The effects are as cheesy and unrealistic, making the rest of the film very difficult to sit through once the first creature effect shows up. It's nice that New Line packaged these films together, but save yourself the time and ignore The Hidden II.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Both films feature very nice 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers. While these aren't immaculate presentations by any means, it is obvious that a bit of restoration work has been done. The overall look of The Hidden II is slightly more impressive than that of the original, but this stems from the seven year age difference between the two. Both transfers benefit from nicely detailed images, solid black and shadow levels, and excellent color-rendering across the board.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both films have Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks, and the differences between them are the same in each case. Both 5.1 mixes are just more active, and feature wider dynamic range than their 2.0 counterparts, and more aggressive bass is another reason that they are the tracks of choice. Sharp, clear dialogue is a plus in all of the mixes, always blending in nicely with the rest of the sound effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 43 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Mangler, Critters, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Jack Sholder with Tim Hunter
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Special Effects Production Footage
Extras Review: While the only extra feature from The Hidden II's menu is a collection of New Line Home Video trailers, there is some nice material with The Hidden. A pretty standard audio commentary track with director Jack Sholder has Tim Hunter serve as moderator, and Sholder divulges some juicy information here, including the original story concept, and what it was like working with his cast.

There's also the theatrical trailer for The Hidden and seven minutes of special effects production footage. This is a very cool segment, showing alternate versions of certain scenes in various stages of effects production.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

A double feature is always a great way to spend an evening, but New Line Home Video's The Hidden / The Hidden II disc only gets the first half of the double-bill right. There's excellent audio and video are for both films, although the original wins out in those departments, and gets the only juicy extra features.


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