Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Hide and Seek (2013)

Hide and Seek (Review)
Huh Jung/Son Hyun-joo/2013
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

" most thrillers nowadays a run for their money..."

When his estranged brother mysteriously disappears, Sung-soo (Son Hyun-joo) , a successful businessman with an obsessive-compulsive disorder, begins to investigate.

After its excellent introduction, Hide and Seek continues to follow Sung-soo as he investigates the disappearance, and Sung-soo's family as they are tormented by an unknown assailant wearing a motorcycle helmet. The story is very effective in crafting the paranoid idea of squatters living in people's homes without permission... and often while the owners are home. It's an eerie and suspenseful mystery with a great climax. The ending, and a few other scenes, leave you with questions, though, so it's somewhat unfulfilling.

Hide and Seek is a very suspenseful thriller-mystery film. The concept -- people living in other people's home -- is creepy on its own, and this story helps amplify it. The film begins with a chilling and suspenseful introduction -- one of the best intros to a film I've seen in a while -- it feels like something straight out of a classic slasher film. And, it surprisingly continues with this nail-biting tension for most of the film. Many of these scenes literally had me at the edge of my seat -- and I mean literally.

However, some of these scenes go from genuine suspense to fabricated suspense. They go from "hurry, get out there!!" to "why would you do that!?!" -- both are suspenseful, but the latter is contrived. Like a scene where someone slips for no apparent reason only to increase the suspense -- it's less effective when it takes the easy way. Fortunately, the film has more genuine suspense than any other type.

The acting is great from the entire cast. Son Hyun-joo does very well in his subtle performance -- not even a whiff of the melodramatics. The film is shot very well, I thoroughly enjoyed the cinematography. The music is also fantastic in building atmosphere; many of the suspenseful scenes opt out of music, though, which is impressive. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream are perfect. Writer and director Huh Jung masterfully builds the suspense and thrills in Hide and Seek; it does lose some momentum towards the end, and some of the writing could use some fine-tuning, but it's otherwise a masterful thriller.

Overall, Hide and Seek is a great film. The concept is creepy, the story is engaging, and the suspense is mostly incredible. There are some holes and plot contrivances in the film, but it's mostly original, well-written, meticulously-directed, and thrilling. Although I think The Terror Live is the most suspenseful film of 2013, I think Hide and Seek gives most thrillers nowadays a run for their money -- with a fraction of their budget.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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