Show me one movie where things work out wonderfully in a fallout shelter and I’ll show you Blast From the Past. Otherwise, Hollywood’s track record for happy ending fallout films is about as successful as the Brooklyn Brawler’s WWE career. Warner Bros.’ latest offering, Hidden, is no exception. But at least it’s got a little more depth.
It’s been three 301 days since hardworking father Ray (Alexander Skarsgard) took his wife and daughter into the shelter—301 days since the viral outbreak forced them underground. His daughter, Zoe, is haunted by nightmares of the ominous topsiders she calls “Breathers,” her chief solace coming from the doll she treats as real. His wife, Claire, relies upon a set of family-drafted rules and her previous practicality to cope with the cramped monotony of subterranean survival, a haggard husk of the suburban supermom she’d been a year ago. Together, they’re doing their best to hold it all together with canned peaches and homemade board games—until the day a rat that’s pillaged their food supply proves as dangerous as anything on the other side of the cellar door.
In the process of killing the little thief, they manage to set a table on fire. They extinguish it before they torch the place, but the smoke from the blaze wafts up through the ventilation grate, tipping off the Breathers to their location. And when the chains on the inside of the door rattle, Zoe watches helplessly as her nightmares invade the dark isolation she’s come to call home.
Hidden feels like a one act short story; it’s a tiny little tale wrapped up in a neat package that still manages to have some heart—and some interesting surprises along the way. Tension builds nicely, but the big scares are few and far between. Still, the cast is strong enough to keep even finicky horror fans involved, as the performances are stronger than most modern creep-fare. And beneath the grime and grit, the characters are all-too relatable.
Like Ray, we all too often are trying to hold everything together for not only ourselves, but our families, when the Breathers are breathing down our neck—or pounding down our door. Apparently things haven’t changed much in thousands of years. Scripture is replete with everyman struggles, as the downtrodden cry out for help while the waters continue to rise. Job, Moses, Samuel, the Prophets—even lesser-knowns like Ehud—they all cried out to God when things got bad. They weren’t reserved or perhaps even reverent in their anguish. They were authentic; they were real. They were hurting and needed not only his reassurance, they needed his action.
But nobody pined for God’s attention like the Psalmists—most notably (and most prolificly) David. “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?,” (Psalm 10: 1) he writes. He goes on to describe in vivid detail how the wicked oppress and assault the just, sticking their thumb in the very eye of God as they do so. But in the end, God gets the final word—and brings peace and salvation to the victim. “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror,” (Psalm 10: 16-18).
The hard part for us (as it likely was for David) is to keep that faith, believing that God will deliver us. Unlike Ray, it’s not good enough to stay underground. We have to stand strong and trust that our God is big enough to carry the battle. And don’t be afraid to cry out—he’s big enough to handle that too. Lay you biggest, ugliest, most terrified self upon him and give him the chance to pull you out of the shadows.
You don’t have to hide any more.