Mi-seon Jeon as Min-ji
Jung-Hee Moon as Joo-hee
Hyeon-ju Son as Seong-soo
Jung Huh’s tense thriller, Hide and Seek has a way of creeping up on the viewer. The tension mounts at a steady pace, and Huh doesn’t go all out in pulling the action trigger until the perfect moment. We’re left to wonder what in the world is going on, right up until the action blows the door down and all is revealed. And there’s a lot to be revealed. Although the gist of the film really falls in line with the wholeHand that Rocks the Cradle groove.
A brother’s gone missing, so the hunt naturally comes to life, but when big brother fails to locate him, instead discovering a woman living in his property, things become violent and possession is most certainly misplaced. The mysterious woman roaming about in disguise is creepy as all hell, and while her motives aren’t initially identifiable, the final act boasts some cruel surprises.
There’s a nice cryptic approach to the mystery, and that helps set it apart from pics of similar nature. Furthermore, Jung Huh avoids delivering typical Asian clichés. Don’t expect ghostly children with massive black bags under their eyes. Don’t anticipate a slew of silent, eerie women with jet black hair hanging lower than their asses, and finally, don’t expect giant black blotches of random strange crap forming on walls. Thank the higher powers, Huh keeps all that tired work omitted from his picture.
The onscreen performances are awesome. Jung-Hee Moon, the lunatic mystery woman, is riveting. In fact she completely steals the show, right from the jump. The moment she creeps into frame, we the viewer know and understand, this bitch is off her rocker. The fact that her delivery intensifies greatly as the picture progresses is absolutely amazing. By the final act, she’s gone full on Rebecca De Mornay, that wild unpredictable, homicidal look in her eyes. And holy hell is it creepy.
Visually Hide and Seek looks awesome in general. Visuals are delivered in clean, controlled fashion. There aren’t many outlandish sequences that call for suspension of disbelief, and whoever worked as the on-hand director of photography did a top notch job of creating appealing aesthetics without dragging the audience into hokey realms. Hide and Seek is a crisp picture, plain and simple, and the entire crew behind this machine deserves a good, firm handshake.
I wouldn’t be one to leap and label this picture as genuinely frightening. At least not in a jump out of your seat way. That said, there’s a creepiness that grows and grows as the story progresses and that ascent toward climax actually works in manufacturing genuine discomfort for the viewer. There are a plethora of issues that could have gone wrong with a piece of this nature; surprisingly none of those mishaps need be factored in. The only thing wrong with this one is how long it haunts the memory after viewing it.
Fans of foreign horror are going to love sinking their teeth into this film. Quality scripts aren’t necessarily the norm in the business these days, but that’s exactly what we’re gifted here. Good, sound mystery that leaves the audience scratching their heads. The work on the part of the thespians is also damn gratifying. This is a very smooth running train, and no single individual sees the beast derailed. If you’re after a cool, thought provoking murder mystery, Hide and Seek is going to leave you quite pleased. If you’re just after another Grudge, or Shutter, or The Ring, orPulse or… you get my drift – don’t go looking for that here. This is higher thinking and well executed cinema designed to appeal to someone willing to think, not jump at goofy meowing kids.