Very few films can effectively combine the gritty drama of a police action flick with science fiction (save for “Blade Runner”), but this film achieves that. Basically, a police detective played by Michael Nouri, along with a supporting cast played by Richard Brooks, Ed O’Ross and B movie veteran Clu Galager, are at wit’s end with an epidemic of violence. Seemingly normal citizens are going beserk and shooting up the city. Adding to Nouri’s headache is a mysterious FBI agent (played by “Twin Peaks” star Kyle McLachlin) who seems to know more about the crime spree and its cause than he is letting on.
The film features great car chases, exciting gun battles and even a surprise ending. It’s not a spoiler to say that the “hidden” is actually an alien parasite that invades the body of its hosts. The parasite craves power, altering the pleasure sections of the brain and removing annoying things like morality and common sense. When the body is too damaged to continue, it simply leaps to another body.
The film is actually an allegory on crime in America, especially drug use where seemingly normal people use drugs like cocaine to get high or use guns to feel powerful. Then, they literally change overnight and begin to do things they’ve never done before in order to maintain the high or feeling of power. All the victims in the film represent the hapless members of society who have to deal with these jackasses. Nouri and friends represent the police who do everything they can to stop the problem, but still find it’s not enough.
Overall, the film can be hard to follow. The sound on the tapes can be a little hard to hear at times, but just seeing Claudia Christian of “Babylon 5” as a possessed stripper will make you overlook this flaw. She’s dynamite, especially in the scene where she gets hot and heavy with a polyester-wearing pimp wannabe, who definitely doesn’t die with a smile on his face.
Oh, and beware. “The Hidden” was such a surprise hit that the producers unwisely made a sequel. Avoid it at all costs. Even with the surprise ending, this film doesn’t need a sequel.