“Hideaway” is a virtual grab bag of movie horror and spirituality cliches and conventions of the past two decades. It’s a smattering of “The Omen” coupled with “Resurrection” and a half-dozen other, mostly unmemorable, pix. Sum total falls short of satisfying visceral entertainment and won’t do any better than standard programmer fare. Offshore and ancillary returns appear decent if unexceptional.
Tale centers on Hatch Harrison (Jeff Goldblum), an antique dealer with a relatively mundane middle-class life. That is, of course, until the day he’s driving back from the family cottage and gets sideswiped by a big rig. While his teenage daughter (Alicia Silverstone) and wife (Christine Lahti) manage to escape harm, Hatch seems a goner.
Luckily, he happens to be close to a hospital where ground-breaking resuscitator Dr. Jonas Nyebern (Alfred Molina) brings him back after two hours on “the other side.” Hatch is told he might have a few problems readjusting.
What he experiences is a series of seeming hallucinations. What he’s actually encountering is a symbiotic connection with another “returnee” named Vassago (Jeremy Sisto). Unfortunately, the other man happens to be a confirmed Satanist on some sort of ritualistic killing spree.
And for extra thrills, the demon can see what our hero is watching — a nod to the interactive era. Vassago torments Hatch with threats to make his daughter his virgin sacrifice.
So, the adaptation from the book by Dean Koontz is standard good-vs.-evil stuff with the emphasis on standard. The filmmakers don’t have much to say about the subject other than good’s better because it’s nicer. There is some visual razzle-dazzle, but the plot and chills are largely telegraphed and predictable. Most won’t see a final twist because it occurs after the end credits have run — the traditional time for patrons to exit the theater.
To its credit, “Hideaway” has a brisk pace and professional sheen. Both Goldblum and Lahti turn in performances that outclass the material. The acting ensemble goes a long way toward making the jumble watchable and, occasionally, absorbing. But it’s all sleight-of-hand, an amusement park ride many will forgo simply because they know the experience all too well and how much better earlier spins have been.