Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hide and Snicker: "Hideaway" (1995)

Author Dean Koontz tried to get his name taken off this adaptation of one of his novels, and with good reason.

Goldblum is Hatch, who is killed in a car accident. He is revived by Alfred Molina, but he begins to "change," much to the consternation of his wife Christine Lahti and gum smacking dummy teen daughter Alicia Silverstone. Apparently, Hatch has made some kind of connection with a serial killer (played by Jeremy Sisto), and both men can see what the other is doing. Sisto becomes obsessed with Silverstone, and Goldblum and the killer run around the Pacific Northwest chasing each other until they meet up in a clicheed finale.

This film should have been better than this. Goldblum is all wrong as Hatch Harrison, playing him with wide eyed wonder and laid back charm. He never gets overly concerned that he can see what a serial killer sees, and when he does explode into anger or emotion, it comes off as supremely fake. Lahti is given nothing more to do than follow a sweaty Goldblum around the house asking him what is wrong. Molina is equally unimpressive as the doctor who serves as the connection between the two men. Sisto is good as the killer, but he is not given anything different to do. You have seen this serial killer a hundred times before. Rae Dawn Chong, as a psychic, has two whole scenes before getting dispatched, and she was the most interesting character here. Once again, I ask the eternal question of all psychic characters in these films: "If they are psychic, can't they see that they are about to die?"

Alicia Silverstone is another matter. I cannot become enamored of a person through a couple of music video appearances. Here, she plays a sixteen or seventeen year old as if she was twelve. Half the time I was not concerned for her safety, I just wanted to smack her. What has she done since "Clueless"? That list alone is scarier than anything in this film.

In a car accident near the beginning of the film, a truck sideswipes our heroic family. Lahti and Goldblum are bug eyed and screaming, but you can see Silverstone in the back seat SMILING. Did she get away with this? Did editing not see this? Is a spinning car on a wet highway supposed to be funny to her character? The car ends up over on the shoulder of the road, Silverstone pops out (pouting), and then the car rolls back down a ravine and ends up in a river. Now, I see why Alicia was smiling, the scene is unintentionally hilarious. I expected the Road Runner to swim up and deposit some dynamite-laced bird seed in the car as Goldblum and Lahti headed for some rapids or a tall desert cliff. If you can remember how Dead Meat bought it in "Hot Shots," this is just as silly.

Leonard also makes liberal use of computer effects to show us what heaven and hell look like. Hell is a giant orange ball of goo. I think Heaven is a blue tinged Oriental lady, I may be wrong. Leonard decided "The Lawnmower Man" had some good ideas not entirely fleshed out in his two and a half hour director's cut, and he stuck them in here for no real reason.

Eventually, the viewer will become as listless as the cast. Whole scenes go by with little or no energy. Major plot points are not revealed by any intelligence on the characters' part, but based on coincidence (watch for Hatch's discovery of the motel the killer is staying at: HE HAPPENS TO DRIVE BY IT). By the time the completely silly resolution rolls around, you will not care. As one last stab at the audience's interest, stay tuned after the final credits, where Leonard tacks on some cheesy scenes that the producers of "Bloody Murder" probably would have rejected as old.

Hide away from "Hideaway." (*) out of five stars.