Something I find myself saying all too frequently lately is that a film isn’t bad, it just isn’t anything special either. So many films are coming out that are perfectly watchable but nothing to make you sit up and take notice. They’re just there, missing some spark to kick them up to the next level, be it some original twists, added gore or better-written characters. HIDE IN THE LIGHT is the latest example, a well shot, competently written film that energetically goes through the same paces we’ve seen so many other films go through.
HIDE IN THE LIGHT starts with a prologue set in 1966 that sees a strange young girl brought to a Catholic orphanage run by Father Wes (Eric Roberts RUNAWAY TRAIN, DEADLY FAMOUS), with distressing results before jumping to the present day. A group of urban explorers is about to tour the now abandoned orphanage. Once inside they find records detailing several suspicious deaths occurring after the girl’s arrival and audio recordings of what sounds like an attempt to exorcise her. And it seems even in death, she and her mysterious friend are still there.
How many times have we seen this plot, if not with urban explorers then with ghost hunters? A couple of years ago HIDE IN THE LIGHT might have stood out for its technical skills and solid pacing. But at this point, the formula needs some reinvention to stay interesting, and there’s none of that here. The acting is good but the characters are the same ones we keep seeing. Which is too bad because apart from Roberts there are also good performances from Jesse James (DEAD SOULS, THE LAST RIDE) and Mercy Malick (FREEWAY KILLER, MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT).
The jump scares are there but again, it’s the ones we’ve come to expect. It doesn’t help that the film is fairly tame, it could easily get a PG rating so there’s nothing in the way of gore or skin to shock you either.
This is writer/director Mikey McGregor’s first feature and to his credit HIDE IN THE LIGHT isn’t dull, it’s not the kind of film that has you reaching for the remote. But it also won’t bother you to go and make a sandwich either. Hopefully, he gets a bit more creative for his next film, he obviously has the skills to make a good film, he just needs the right script.
Currently doing the festival circuit, HIDE IN THE LIGHT will be the closing night film at the FirstGlance Film Fest in North Hollywood on Sunday, March 11th.