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By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 04, 1995


Brett Leonard
Jeff Goldblum;
Christine Lahti;
Alicia Silverstone;
Jeremy Sisto
graphic violence and foul language

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Beneath its supernatural pretensions, the adaptation of Dean Koontz's "Hideaway" is horrifying only in that it's duller than the late Jeffrey Dahmer's meat cleaver. Koontz hates the movie so much he tried to force TriStar to remove his name from the credits. Not to worry, Dean, baby. Nobody much is going to see the picture, much less your moniker.

The pedestrian psycho killer thriller does, however, open with ghastly promise: A teenage Satanist, Vassago (Jeremy Sisto), screams, "I want to go to Hell!" and then impales himself on the weapon he used to sacrifice his mother and sister. Unfortunately, just as he is about to exit on the Hades Express, he is resuscitated by a cardiologist.

Meanwhile, on another astral plane, Hatch Harrison (Jeff Goldblum), a drowning victim, sees his recently departed daughter at the portals of Heaven. But just as he starts to follow her into the light, he is resuscitated by the same damn cardiologist, who proceeds despite his nurse's warning: "Remember what happened the last time."

At first, nothing seems awry; Hatch, in fact, is better than ever after his out-of-pajama experience. Prior to same, he had blamed himself for his youngest daughter's death and so had been overprotective of his teenage daughter, Regina (Alicia Silverstone), and neglectful of his wife, Lindsey (Christine Lahti). Following his resurrection, he lets Regina go to Pearl Jam concerts and treats Lindsey to some bedroom va-va-voom.

Then one night he goes downstairs to slice up a tomato and has the first of a series of precognitive visions depicting murderous assaults upon teenage girls. The doctor says it's nothing. His wife thinks he's going crazy. The audience thinks he's just killing time till the third act. Finally, he realizes that he has come back from his trip to a different plane with some extra baggage: a psychic link with a serial killer. Now, he must use the link to save his surviving daughter.

Goldblum looks dead when he's supposed to and that's probably the best thing that can be said about his performance. The scariest thing about Vassago, his evil nemesis, is that he's wearing lip gloss and really should do something about those pimples. Of course, the film is not helped by the tedious direction of Brett Leonard, whose previous opus was "The Lawnmower Man." It's no wonder the pace he sets is as leisurely as composting.

Hideaway is rated R for graphic violence and foul language.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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