Rating: 2 out of 5.

Generic thrillers are a dime a dozen, and Hide and Seek is yet another addition to this lengthy genre tag. Production quality is high for a movie that slides neatly into methodically-choreographed cliches. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Noah, a wealthy businessman hunting for his missing junkie brother. Their father having recently passed, Noah is seeking his brother to share the family fortune. Driven down a path of mysteries and curiosities, Noah is ensnared in a dark underworld. Noah’s sanity hangs in the balance, and murder swirls through the air. One thing is for sure, one will never hear that age-old “London Bridge is Falling Down” nursery rhyme quite the same…

Frustratingly, Hide and Seek flirts with horror but fails to fully embrace it. Had the script gone full-tilt terror and thrills, we could be looking at a mildly successful throwback with the crumbling apartment building being the perfect setting. The derelict locale is deliciously perfect, with the Queens setting adding the extra layer of edge. Instead, a watered-down Kiss the Girls was on the menu. Regardless of this obvious misstep, the killer’s outfit is that of an eerie motorcycle-helmet freak and is easily my favorite visual. The closest look of the killer would be that of Brenda’s puffy Parka costume in 1998’s Urban Legend. The mystery around the identity of the killer actually had me invested, before serving up an underwhelming unmasking that feels like an afterthought.

Colorful and stylish cinematography do a decent job in making the viewer forget how predictable this all feels. Joel David Moore may be just as good of a director as he is an actor; I cannot wait to see what he does next. The score pumps it up a smidgen too. Even if it fails to go the extra mile, the lead character played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers is compelling at least. The recurring nightmares, however, quickly grow stale. Once the script puts children in peril, it soars to thrilling highs that are unparalleled in the first two acts. Hide and Seek had a long way to go in terms of being an actual good thriller, but the fumbling of the killer’s unmasking makes the conclusion into a feature difficult to recommend.

Hide and Seek comes to digital and on demand on Friday, November 19th.

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