Kris Roselli’s Hideout places this thrilling narrative trope within a home invasion set, exhibiting bad guys on the run who unknowingly invade the home of an evil higher than themselves, blurring victim with villain into total moral obfuscation. Every character is an enigma whom we know nothing about beyond the immediate situation, allowing for a nihilistic horror in which anything can happen to anyone while we remain ethically unbothered and thoroughly entertained.
Hideout opens on eerie shots of a desolate town, missing person posters plastered across telephone poles and dark, boarded-up houses lining the streets. The ghostly calm is violently interrupted by a team of four thieves fleeing a botched robbery, and the panicked gang screech away down the backroads in search of a place to hide. Reed (Chris Wolf) has been shot, and their faces are all over the news, and Kyle (Brian Enright), Sarah (Katie Lyons) and Marshall (Mark A Baum) are desperate for somewhere to lay low and treat their partner’s wounds.
Arriving at a mysterious little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, the frantic group is met by an old lady, Bee (Janice LeFlam) who welcomes them inside and stitches up the now unconscious Reed. There’s a subtle, almost imperceptible sinister aura about the house; it’s oddly barren, the old lady is a little too eager to help, it all just feels ever so slightly wrong. They tell Bee the injury is from a hunting accident, they’re all on edge, and while they all stand around anxiously a young girl walks in, and the tension is immediately understood.
The girl, who Bee announces is her granddaughter Rose (Audrey Kovar), seems to take over the room just by being there. She taunts Kyle with hints of supernatural ability, spooking him about her psychic abilities and the tragic future she sees promised by his palm. As the supernatural elements come into play, things begin to get weird. Sarah and Kyle are having vivid hallucinatory experiences, and as their reality becomes confusing the source of their gaslighting remains uncertain; there are ominous forces about, but is the town, the house, the old lady, the girl? Where did their fourth member Marshall go, disappearing right when they got to the house? Reed finally wakes up, and it turns out he’s the most volatile member of the household. Where Kyle is hesitant, nervous, and careful, Reed is aggressive, impulsive, and callous. He ignores Kyle’s fearful warnings about the house and about Rose, and the infighting becomes increasingly present.
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 of the needs of the audience 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.