This is one of my favourite films from the ’80s, but I rarely hear anyone speaking of it. I guess The Hidden is an appropriate name then, because that’s what it seems to be doing now, hiding. I decided to dig it up and give it a proper review, because this is a great flick.
Random citizens are going on crime sprees, leaving a trail of bodies behind them, and nobody can figure out why. Tom Beck (Michael Nouri) is assigned the case, and a new partner when Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan), an FBI agent from Seattle, shows up. As the two men get closer to capturing the person responsible, Tom starts to realize that they’re not dealing with anything from Earth. Will the two men be able to stop the invader from space, or will it accomplish its goal of conquering the Earth?
I’m not sure how this film is constantly overlooked. Even I had almost forgotten about it as the years passed. It was one of those films that I could easily explain, but constantly forgot the name of. Once I had figured out what it was called, it became one of the movies that I had to watch again. Everything that a great alien action flick should have is in there. A disgusting alien with an even more grotesque way of moving about, plenty of gunfire and car chases, and a strange sense of humour. I had just as much fun watching this one now as I did when I first saw it over twenty years ago. Not every film can stand up that way, but The Hidden continues to be a fantastic movie.
Much of the films enjoyment comes from watching Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri as the two cops chasing the alien. Neither one goes too far over the top, even though they’re in a film about an alien that takes over peoples bodies by crawling through their mouth. MacLachlan’s character also has quite a few secrets that slowly become apparent over time. I can think of plenty of other films that carry the same type of character story, but nobody plays it quite as subtly as MacLachlan does. The dialogue between his character and Nouri’s is also very funny in a natural way. There’s a bit of the ‘two cops with different attitudes have to work together’ in there, but it doesn’t make a huge joke out of it.
The fact that the movie takes some very familiar ideas and plays with them in a different way is great. There are aliens, but they don’t exactly want what every other alien does. There’s the cops that are completely different but have to work together, but it’s surprising to see which traits each one has. MacLachlan may look like the tightwad and Nouri the loose cannon, but it’s frequently the other way around. They also avoid any kind of big explanation. There isn’t a huge conspiracy going on, and armies of aliens don’t show up at the end. It’s a very simple story that just happens to have an odd alien at the centre. If ’80s action films are something you enjoy, this one is sure to please. With the addition of a slimy alien, it’s hard to find an action flick that is more fun. Just be sure to keep your mouth closed. You don’t want one of those gooey suckers trying to get in.
Under the marquee – Will