You're at home alone and not expecting company. Instead, it's late, you go to bed, and suddenly you're plunged into a world of terror. Someone has broken into your home - and they want more than just your stuff. For Charlotte, this scenario has become far more than a passing thought. After her husband, Graig, leaves for a few days on a work trip, she's woken up to the sound of an intruder - and violently pulled out of her bed. This is how it all begins. This is Anthony Vazquez's short film "Hidden World."
Let's be honest, shall we? The entire premise of "Hidden World" is terrifying but not all that unique. This form of exploitation/horror/thriller has been done again and again, and for a good reason... the audience generally loves it. There's something inherently entertaining about the subject matter, about being scared silly by the "what if" scenario that, honestly, could happen to any of us. "Hidden World" offers its own twist on the situation, which generally changes the way an audience will think of the film - but the basics, all the way up to the plot twist, follow the tried and true formula. That twist I spoke of really does change up the overall story making "Hidden World" more of a statement piece - but the lead-up is oodles of fun. Perhaps, "fun" is not the best word to use but then again, why not? Exploring darker themes is always a good, scary time when done via the safety of a movie. Overall? "Hidden World" did the trick - it was entertaining as hell.
In hindsight, the clues were scattered around here and there, pointing at the movie's trick ending. It was also spelled out in the description - which I read afterward. But, for me, "Hidden World" was at its best during the second act, before I knew for sure what was what - so to speak. Vazquez wasted no time using all the tricks in the book to enhance the grim atmosphere. From making me expect a jump scare that doesn't happen to the seemingly frantic and sometimes calm effort to escape from Charlotte, "Hidden World" spared no tricks in building atmosphere. Even the increasingly sexualized nature of the scenes gruesomely enhanced the grim situation in which the leading character was a hostage. The ending was a sigh of relief but also opened the door to more profound thoughts for discussion. I'll leave the rest up to the viewer to find out and potentially discuss... keeping things as spoiler-free as possible.
Indie film has always leaned into exploring horrific and potentially violent situations. Indie horror, for the most part, can be just as good as big studio versions of the same story. At specific points, "Hidden World" excels in nearly every department and, as a film overall, offers an excellent, tense viewing experience. Well written, well acted, and generally just a great job. Four stars.