The Hidden (1987)
March 22, 2020 8:40 PM - Subscribe

When average, law-abiding citizens suddenly turn to a life of hedonistic behavior and violent crime, Detective Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) is tasked with helping young FBI agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan) determine the cause in this tense, sci-fi thriller.

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Roger Ebert: ★★★ ""The Hidden" takes this situation and makes a surprisingly effective film out of it, a sleeper that talks like a thriller and walks like a thriller, but has more brains than the average thriller. It also has a sense of humor, and some subtle acting by MacLachlan, whose assignment is to play a character who always is just a beat out of step."

Wikipedia entry
posted by Halloween Jack (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I love this movie.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:49 PM on March 22, 2020

I decided to rewatch it after recently rewatching a Star Trek: Enterprise episode in which Michael Nouri was a guest actor. I may not have actually seen this since it came out, over thirty years ago, but it holds up very well. I think that one of its main virtues is that of the low-budget SF movie that, instead of trying to do a lot of SFX pretty badly, limits itself to a premise that allows for minimal special effects and can be done in a contemporary setting; one of the best examples of this is The Terminator, another film in which the SF element takes place in the modern day (well, in what was the modern day) and the characters struggle to understand just what in the hell is going on. It even has the person from the same setting as the antagonist who likewise conceals their true nature, and isn't believed when they finally reveal the truth. This movie flirts with straight-up stealing from The Terminator when the Terminatoralien lays siege to the police station with Kyle ReeseKyle MacLachlan imprisoned inside, although it ends up playing out very differently.

And, of course, one thing that the movie does is make good use of its exceptional cast, which includes Clu Gulager, Ed O'Ross, Claudia Christian, Chris Mulkey, and an early appearance by Danny Trejo, but the real standout is MacLachlan, who did this right after Blue Velvet and a few years before Twin Peaks. Ebert compared his work here to Jeff Bridges in Starman, another excellent low-budget SF film from the eighties, but MacLachlan is more subtle in his otherness, and the differences are more apparent when he tries socializing with Nouri's cop and his family. One of the things that I like about the movie is that it never really goes into detail about "Gallagher"; at different times, he says that the alien criminal that they're chasing has killed both his partner and his wife and child, and I wondered if his wife was his partner. There's also some ambiguity at the ending that I appreciated. (There's apparently a sequel that makes things more definite, but it doesn't sound very good and I have no desire to see it.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:14 AM on March 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

I knew nothing about The Hidden before I saw it at the local cineplex as a teenager - but by the end of that opening chase sequence, mere minutes into the movie, I knew I was absolutely gonna love it. It did not disappoint.
posted by hoodrich at 4:23 PM on March 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

The sequel is best watched with the attitude that it is fan-fiction. In much the same way that there has never been a sequel to Highlander. There have been films that were inspired by it and they can be fun in an MST3K way but there can be only one.

This gem of a film managed to be perfect lift of late eighties pop culture of excess as a playground for a being who takes their excess very seriously. Our heroes had great chemistry and the director knew how to maximize all their resources.

Now I need to go back a re-watch it again.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 7:26 PM on March 23, 2020

This was a fun movie!
posted by rmd1023 at 7:58 AM on March 24, 2020

Is this streaming on something?
posted by gryftir at 11:13 AM on March 24, 2020

Not for free. I dug up a copy on physical media.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:52 PM on March 24, 2020


I might just pay for this.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:55 AM on March 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Must see this.
posted by Oyéah at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2020

I watched this last year, on the recommendation of Tasha Robinson, I think. So fun! And I was surprised I’d never even heard of it.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 3:00 PM on March 28, 2020

I liked this film. I was always struck by the resemblance to a film that came out 10 years later, Fallen (with Denzel Washington and John Goodman). With the difference of the villain being an immortal demon instead of a crazed alien, the plots of the two films are almost the same, though Fallen is considerably darker. And The Hidden is better.
posted by ubiquity at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2020

I didn't even know there was a sequel! The movie was a real surprise when I watched it, I think I had a Kyle MacLachlan period for like 30 minutes in the late 1980s where I looked this up and rented it. It sound like terrible cheese but turned out to be very good.
posted by tavella at 2:59 PM on April 10, 2020

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