Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jacinda Barrett, Sue Jean Kim, Avril Lena Wei, Mustafa Shakir, Joe Pantoliano
Written by: Joel David Moore, based on a screenplay by Huh Jung
Directed by: Joel David Moore
MPAA Rating: R for some violence, disturbing images, nudity, and for language
Running Time: 83
Date: 11/19/2021
IMDB

Hide and Seek (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Brother Way Round

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A remake of a 2013 Korean film, this thriller feels much like a copy; despite scenes that look like they've been put together correctly, the result is still lifeless, bland, and instantly forgettable.

A woman is murdered by a mysterious figure in a motorcycle helmet. Then, wealthy New York businessman Noah Blackwell (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) gets a call from family lawyer Collin Carmichael (Joe Pantoliano), who tells Noah that his brother is back in town, and has asked about the family fortune after the death of their father.

Noah goes to the dilapidated building where the brother has been staying, and instead finds landlord Frankie Pascarillo (Mustafa Shakir), who shows Noah to the brother's abandoned room. He also meets Mi Soo (Sue Jean Kim) and her daughter Mi Jin (Avril Lena Wei), who help him after a homeless man attacks him, and learns that the building is condemned. But Noah has already poked his nose too far into the underworld, and has set a dark tale in motion.

Written and directed by actor Joel David Moore (Hatchet, Art School Confidential), Hide and Seek seems to follow the plot of the original film fairly closely, but in doing so, it somehow deadens the suspense and character, as if tracing over something old rather than creating something new. Even the actors seem disengaged. The Noah character is obsessed with cleanliness, which partly makes his character feel out-of-place, but also draws attention away from the story and to his perfectly poofed hair and astonishingly crisp, cream-colored coat.

It's great to see Pantoliano, but does he really have to play that old scene where he meets the main character on a park bench and hands him a pack of photos in a manilla envelope? Shakir provides some lightness as the crumbling building's landlord, issuing commands while wearing a red silk bathrobe. But as the plot ramps up, all characters seems to fall into generic mode.

Moore tries to add a few horror elements to Hide and Seek, including nightmares, a sudden jolt in a mirror, and dark figures that flit by the foreground and background when characters aren't looking, but it's all just so familiar. Perhaps worse, the camera sometimes fails to be where it should, and details are sometimes frustratingly obscured and confusing. This is one not so much to seek out, but to hide from.

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