Hideout opens ominously with a shot of a telephone pole covered in missing persons posters before exploding into gunfire as a liquor store robbery goes badly wrong. Reed (Chris Wolfe, Born to Raise Hell) has been shot and the others, Kyle (Bryan Enright), Sarah (Katie Lyons) and Rick (Eric Francis Melaragni, Happy Hour Slasher), need to get him help and find a place to hide.
Picking a random house they tell the owner Bee (Janice LaFlam, Army of the Dead) that their friend was shot in a hunting accident. While she and her granddaughter Rose (Audrey Kovár, Bumps) take care of the injured man Kyle and Sarah start to get a strange feeling about the pair. Made even stranger by the fact Rick seems to have vanished somewhere between the car and the house.
Criminals looking for a place to lay low choose the wrong house to hide in. That’s been a staple of crime thrillers and horror films as different as The Desperate Hours, Fight for Your Life and Blood Massacre Not to mention countless episodes of TV shows like The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. So it takes some effort to come up with something new, and Hideout does, sort of.
Almost from the time the criminals reach the house writer/director Kris Roselli starts giving things odd little twists. Enough to let us know that things aren’t what they appear to be but without giving away just what is going on. And with a running time of just under two hours it will be a while before we get to find out, Hideout is an extremely slow burn of a film.
While it does run a bit too long, Hideout makes good use of most of that time as it moves back and forth between traditional crime thriller and outright horror. One minute the police are at the door asking questions, the next a stuffed bear’s head moves, watching Kyle as he walks past. But is it real, or just the effects of stress and lack of sleep? Something nightmarish, or just an actual nightmare?
Audrey Kovár deserves a lot of credit for making Hideout work as well as it does. Her performance as Rose hits just the right level of strange and creepy. You can sense she has some kind of influence over the two men even if you can’t be sure what it is. She’s like that cute girl in your high school class who claimed to be a witch, only she really is dangerous.
Overall, the cast of Hideout does a good job considering most of them have limited experience and much of that is in shorts or small and/or uncredited roles. Granted Enright can go a bit over the top when Kyle is losing his shit, but they really manage to maintain an air of tension and quiet horror until the final act.
Roselli holds back most of the outright scares and effects until the last half hour and then he lets loose with the shocks and some painful looking violence. It’s just the payoff the audiences needs after the long lead in. Unfortunately he couldn’t resist tacking on an overlong and completely unnecessary epilogue that blunts the impact of what should have been the final scene.
Despite that, Hideout is a damn fine film that really only needs a bit tighter of an edit. Like much of the cast Roselli came into this with only a few short films for experience and came out of it with an impressive first feature.
Hideout is available on streaming and VOD platforms via VMI Worldwide. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.