You know those DIRECTV commercials where the narrator leads us through the series of unfortunate events that befall the person on screen after they realize their cable sucks? I love those commercials. I especially love the one where the guy looks out his window and notices two mob guys stuffing a body into the trunk of their car. The guy ends up faking his own death and dying his hair and eyebrows gray and changing his identity to an old man named Phil Shifley, as the narrator says, "Don't attend your own funeral as a guy named Phil Shifley…" I bring that commercial up for two reasons 1) the premise is basically the same as the plot of 'Hiding' 2) the commercial is much more enjoyable than this DTV turd.
Jo (Ana Villafane) saw something she wasn't supposed to see and now she's been put in the witness protection program, hiding out in Montana until she can testify. Jo's commercial would say something like, "Don't end up in Montana hitting on the kid that played Peter Pan and stuffing your face with three pound hamburgers."
The back of the box describes this as a "breakout performance" for Ana Villafane. Which is true considering her first major movie credit is as "Bikini Girl" in 'I Love You Phillip Morris.' Anything after that, by default, should be considered breaking out.
Jo is sent to a small town in Montana to hide out. She assimilates herself into school and soon finds that she's the object of affection for two boys. Brett (Jeremy Sumpter) is the popular jock of the school. He says things like, "Tell me how cute you think I am." The other boy, Jesse (Tyler Blackburn), is a tortured painter who talks pretentiously about different artists. There's something to like about both of these boys for Jo; on one hand Brett is handsome and muscular, on the other hand Jesse is pretentious and wears scarves in mid-summer. The truth is these two budding relationships don't go anywhere or have any bearing on the movie's outcome. The relationship with Brett does lead to a ridiculous eating contest where Jo and Brett stuff their faces at a local eating establishment to see who can eat the most of the famous three pound hamburger. If you thought 'Man vs. Food' was nauseating, then wait until you get a look of these two actors actually shoving a giant hamburger, fries, and a shake down their gullets for a good three-minute montage.
For most of the time I felt like I was watching a made-for-TV movie that would've aired on the WB or ABC Family. The movie is ridiculously dumb and, like many DTV movies, has no sense of pacing (which is evidenced by the aforementioned food-eating montage). We see numerous flashbacks of Jo's past life, which seem like they were shot by a camera man who was having a seizure at the time. It's like they wanted to replicate the stylized flashback sequences in the 'Bourne' movies but didn't quite know how to do it, so they just shook the camera a lot. It's actually quite funny, because there is a flashback where Jo is simply talking to her mother in the kitchen. Nothing exciting is happening, but the camera is flying around like its tied to a string and a bunch of toddlers are hitting it like a piñata. There is also a subplot where the school's popular blondes find this new girl to be like totally annoying so they look into her past. Does it actually affect the movie in anyway? Nope. Does it, however, make for some great teenage high school drama? Double nope.
I know you were expecting 'Hiding' to be the next best "girl moves to a new town through the witness protection program and finds love at her new high school" movie, but it isn't. I can't really name any other movie from that genre that is better, but I'm sure there is one.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is an Anchor Bay release. 'Hiding' is pressed on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc and is housed in a eco-friendly Blu-ray keepcase. It's marked as being a Region A release.
The video presentation here is just as bland and flat as one might expect from a low-budget DTV movie. 'Hiding' features depthless photography with anemic shadow delineation and colors that appear somewhat washed out. Skin tones vary from natural to pale. Fine detail is actually pretty good during close-ups but wavers in the mid-range territory. Banding is evident in a few scenes, aliasing too. Noise stays away for most of the movie, but darker areas do harbor some blips and flecks. I wasn't expecting anything astounding and I got just want I expected.
The movie has been treated with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track, but calling it a surround track is a bit generous. Starting with the rear speakers, there is hardly any ambient sound to pick up. Even in the busy hallways of Jo's new high school, rear speakers are strangely silent. There are a couple gunshots that echo around in the rear channels, but they really don't provide much in the way of surround sound.
Dialogue is pretty intelligible throughout, but there were a few whispered or muffled lines that were hard to hear. There is enough music on the soundtrack to warrant a few instances of low-end involvement, but it stays quite for most of the movie. Like the video, the audio is also underwhelming.
'Hiding' definitely should be hidden on store shelves. I wonder who is really picking up this title when it eventually drops. It's as generic as they come and every bit as slow and pointless as many DTV movies tend to be. The video and audio aren't anything to fawn over either. This is one you're better off simply skipping without a second thought.