Despite the stalk-and-slash trappings, Hider in the House is an intelligent, gripping and sometimes compelling psychological thriller featuring attractive performances by Mimi Rogers and Gary Busey.
Over the opening credits is an explanation that Busey’s character, Tom Sykes, was mistreated as a child by his father, from whom he often chose to hide. He eventually killed his parents by setting fire to the house. As a man, Sykes is released from a state institution. In his search to find a real home, he breaks into a recently renovated house and builds himself a secret space behind a false wall in the attic.
Unfortunately, his dreamhouse also is that of the well-to-do Dryer family (Rogers, Michael McKean, children Kurt Christopher Kinder and Candy Hutson). While they settle into their new home, Sykes taps into the intercom system and starts drawing on their relationships, making the family his own. Sykes at first sees Julie Dryer as a mother figure, but he becomes increasingly obsessed with her.
Busey gives a fine performance as the obsessed murderer and Rogers is excellent as the unknowing object of Busey’s attentions. The rest of the cast is strong. Helmer Matthew Patrick directs with a good deal of thought and intelligence and does not rely on violence or shock value. He has constructed an admirable psychological thriller, greatly helped by Jeff Jur’s elegant camerawork.