To Hell and Back

Image is all (but not enough) in the supernatural thriller Hideaway

The film springs to life a few times after the opening sequence, usually when Goldblum is rushing across town to pursue his spectral doppelgänger, invariably stumbling across a new dead body and leaving his fingerprints all over creation (which isn't a big deal, given that the film's token nosy detective is such a clueless idiot that he must have been transferred over from the Castle Rock PD). And the finale, which takes place in an abandoned amusement park where Satan Boy has constructed a gigantic scrap-metal devil's head to house his stereo equipment and various killing tools, has a certain crude punchiness, although it devolves into overproduced supernatural hooey that's never adequately explained by the script.

But by that point, the picture has become so tedious, sadistic and loud that it's difficult to mourn what might have been. The only way to pass the time without yawning is by counting the assorted implausibilities of human behavior on display -- a sure sign that a horror film has overstayed its welcome. My favorite occurs during the picture's longest stalking sequence, in which a kidnapped Bauhaus chippy runs desperately around the villain's lair in a vain attempt to escape him, finally deciding the most logical way to save herself is to duck inside the gaping maw of the giant devil's head playhouse.

Yup, that's what I'd do, all right.

Directed by Brett Leonard. With Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahti and Alicia Silverstone.

Rated R.
112 minutes.

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