Thursday, 10 May 2018

Hide And Go Shriek (1988)

Hide And Go Shriek is a late entry from the golden age of the slasher film. It's so late, in fact, that I don't think you can even place it in the actual years that slasher scholars would use in any study of the peak years for fans of the subgenre. This was released in 1988. 1988. I don't know what audiences made of it at the time, although I don't think it became a firm favourite for anyone, but it's a fun film to revisit nowadays and place alongside many of the older, better films of this kind.

The basic plot involves a bunch of youngsters celebrating their high school graduation by spending the night in a furniture store (the store is owned by the father of one of the main characters). These wild 'n' crazy kids want to play pranks on one another, indulge in some half-hearted hide and seek, and pair off for bouts of sex, of course, but a killer in the store wants to spoil their plans.

Although it comes in at the standard runtime for this kind of fare (90 minutes), Hide And Go Shriek feels overlong and far too drawn out in places, mainly during the opening third of the film. Writer Michael Kelly's script doesn't pace things well, doesn't give us enough unique characters to have fun with (a common enough fault with slasher movies, allowing everyone to be a potential victim without upsetting viewers too much), and there are at least three false scares in the first twenty minutes alone, which I found REALLY annoying.

Director Skip Schoolnik doesn't do anything to help either. The death scenes aren't as bloody or memorable as they could be, with one major sequence as downright irritating as it is predictable, and it's another film in which people try to cover up the low budget with poor editing choices and low lighting levels. That doesn't work. That hardly ever works.

I wish I could highlight a few of the cast members for reasons that don't seem so shallow but I can't. Instead, I have to comment on how annoying Brittain Frye is in the role of Randy, the "whacky" joker of the group, and mention that I liked Annette Sinclair and Donna Baltron because I simply found them the most appealing. Jeff Levine and Scott Kubay do well in their small, but vital, roles.

The first half of Hide And Go Shriek had me thinking that I was going to dismiss the film as one to be avoided. Thankfully, the second half is a bit more interesting. There's a final group, as opposed to a final girl, and motivation for the killer that manages to feel strange and unique without coming across as laughable (despite some overacting in the final reel). And I loved the final shot.


Pick it up on shiny disc here.

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