HIDER IN THE HOUSE
The film offers a surprisingly sympathetic psycho. Even the point-of-view the script takes is with him rather than the family the film starts with him moving into the house and we follow him as he secretly spies on the family. You might compare this to another film like The Pact (2012) or Housebound (2014) where the fact that there had been someone living inside the walls all along was the climactic revelation that a horror show had built up to. We get a very sympathetic portrait of the character rushing out to save the youngest from a potential drowning and later teaching Kurt Christopher Kinder to stand up to bullies. Of course, the role of the psycho is cast with Gary Busey, one of the genuine train wrecks of Hollywood. In the years ahead, Busey would make a regular career out of villainous and supporting heavy roles. Here he is still a relative unknown and the innocence of his performance comes undeniably overshadowed by the two decades of subsequent film work that Busey has become known for. It doesnt need any psycho theatrics, just the idea of Gary Busey trying to appear ordinary and being friendly to kids seem loaded with enough disturbing possibilities to create a frisson.
The main problem with Hider in the House is that director Matthew Patrick gives the film a very middle of the road handling. There is nothing in terms of the suspense that keeps you on the edge of the seat. Things are well signposted when Gary Busey takes the small bowl that Mimi Rogers made and spends an inordinately long time fondling it, you can guarantee that that will be the item she will discover in his lair and suddenly click as to what is going on; there is the predictable scene where Gary Busey befriends Kurt Christopher Kinder and gives him the moves to stand up to his bullies; Elizabeth Ruscios best friend has Victim stamped on her forehead from about the moment she is introduced. About the only aspect that does not fall to expectation is that creepy neighbour Bruce Glover is not killed and even aids the family at the end.
Indeed, what you suspect would have made Hider in the House work far better is if it hadnt been made with the reasonable budget and name actors it has and instead been made as a much trashier, no-budget, no name actors psycho film and let itself go with all stops out rather than the perpetual restraint of Matthew Patricks handling. Instead, what we get is a safe and easy thriller. It is clearly also one made just after the huge success of Fatal Attraction (1987) and undeniably influenced by it. It has the same conservative, family-oriented agenda an end where the force of psychopathology is eliminated and the family status quo is restored, including the forgiveness of the husbands sins in straying from his wifes arms.
Matthew Patrick is a largely unknown name who had previously made the Spanish horror film Trapped (1982) but has since made only two other little-seen films Night Owl (1993) and Tainted Blood (1993). Hider in the House was the screenwriting debut of British writer Lem Dobbs who would go onto deliver scripts for three films for Steven Soderbergh Kafka (1991), The Limey (1999) and Haywire (2011), as well as the likes of The Hard Way (1999), the amazing Dark City (1998), The Score (2001) and Robert Redfords The Company You Keep (2012).
Full film available online here:-