The Hidden II (1994) / Sci Fi-Horror
MPAA Rated: R for pervasive gore, violence, sexuality and language
Running Time: 91 min.
Cast: Raphael Sbarge, Kate Hodge, Jovin Montanaro, Michael Welden
Director: Seth Pinsker
Screenplay: Seth Pinsker
Review published September 11, 2006
This one goes straight to my ever-growing list of sequels that take the story in such a misguided direction, it ruins my fond memory of the first film. It's hard to forget the first film, though, as about a sixth of the entire running length of The Hidden II is a rehash of the last fifteen minutes of The Hidden, with the exception of a few scenes cut in of a dog taking some alien parasite remains into its mouth and becoming infected and controlled by it. Unfortunately for the makers of this belated, arguably superfluous sequel, these fifteen minutes are far better than the 75 minutes that follow.
This sequel is set 17 years after the events in the first film, where we find the good alien, formerly known as Lloyd Gallagher, still inhabiting the body of police officer Tom Beck (now played by Michael Welden). He is waiting to see if something called "the spawning" will occur, whereby the evil alien is able to hatch more similar organisms from its remains, multiplying in number and becoming a threat to humanity once again. Unfortunately, Beck's body has become worse for wear due to the draining it has taken from the good alien's presence, and shortly expires after discovering the lair of the future hatchlings.
It's good that the good alien called for back-up, as another good alien arrives in the form of MacLachlan (Sbarge, Risky Business), who has come to find the lair and destroy it before things get out of hand. To help, he teams up with Beck's now-grown-up daughter Juliet (Hodge, Rapid Fire), and after a bit of convincing, the two set out to take down the alien that is hopping from body to body causing much mayhem, while also finding the rest of the dormant alien spores before they do the same.
The original film may not have been great or original, but it was great fun, mixing Alien and The Terminator for a fantastic hybrid full of action, humor, and pretty decent (for a low budget film) special effects. All of those things are absent from its sequel, making this a rather joyless, uninteresting, and very disappointing continuation for fans of the cult original.
Problems start out early with the lengthy recap of the ending of The Hidden, which not only serves as a reminder of how cool it was, but also could have been edited down to no more than three minutes to dish out the same information. Very few people would watch a film called The Hidden II without having first seen its prequel, and since the dawn of the home video/premium cable/regular TV showings, there is no longer a need to have lengthy recaps to start a movie.
In honor of this style of filmmaking, I will now recap part of my review of The Hidden to show just what is missing from The Hidden II:
"...the action comes at a fever pitch, never letting you have a second to question some of the film's more implausible moments before moving on to the next locale and set of wild circumstances."
The Hidden II is woefully devoid of action sequences, languishing interminably in atmospheric, creepy moments that don't really push forward the story so much as pad out the movie. In fact, there is only one scene, where the evil alien causes much mayhem after stealing a boom box and a car, that rekindles the look and feel of the first film. It comes too late to save the film as it is, but it is also handled with far less of the wit and style that served The Hidden so well. If the original didn't give you a a second to reflect on the absurdity of it all, this sequel is so stagnant for so many scenes, we have no choice but to reflect on how stupid it really is
"...impressive is the chemistry of the two leads...their interactions are funny, gutsy, and keep the momentum of the film going, even when it's time for a breather from the high-falutin' action pieces."
The Hidden II not only lacks any chemistry between the two leads, but it also suffers from a lack of comedic incredulousness from the human partner that made the first film a joy. The alien here seems like some overzealous missionary than an alien, and his partner all too readily accepts what's going on without a great deal of fuss. Conversations in this film slow down the already lumbering momentum to a virtual standstill.
"...one fun scene after another, with moments of intelligence and thoughtfulness that is rare to find in what should have been just another z-grade knock-off."
The "z-grade knockoff" could easily be applied to The Hidden II, as the poor budget and cheesy special effects definitely do hamper the overall quality of the film. The out-of-body parasite shots in particular can't pass the snicker test, seeming every bit of the "rubber prop pulled by a string" that they are. Whenever people are attacked by it, they have to perform the old "hold it against you and look like you're struggling" form of acting we all used to do as kids with our action figures and toys.
"For a night of great schlock cinema, The Hidden is worth finding."
Given that, as of this writing, The Hidden II is long out of print in home video and not available on DVD, it's not worth any effort to seek out. In fact, I feel a bit bad for writing the review of it, as some of you would not have even known of this film's existence otherwise, and you could have gone forward with your lives in completely blissful ignorance. To those that are insatiable about finding out more, I would strongly caution you not to, although in one sense, The Hidden II is worth finding alright, if only to take into a field and bury so it won't infect the minds of any other potential viewers. If there's one evil spawn that deserves to be eviscerated, it's this piss-poor sequel itself.
©2006 Vince Leo