After a convenience store robbery goes awry, and a plain clothes police officer is shot, Nick (Cristian Solimeno) and Celia (Melinda Y. Cohen) find themselves executing a polite home invaon, in need of a new set of wheels. They hit a bump in the road when they discover someone home, a well kempt man by the name of Victor (Billy Zane), who claims to be the man of the house. After one of the redent's inhabitants, Nadine (Scarlett Sabet) is discovered hiding in a closet, Nick and Celia begin to put the pieces together. Not long after, Nick discovers the mutilated remains of Nadine’s family in the house, and determines that Victor is definitely not what he seems to be. When the task force arrives, and the vengeance driven officer (Ken Bones) Roth (It was Roth’s son who was shot in the convenience store) assumes command of the tuation, things get real hairy, and the body count quickly escalates as Nick and Celia attempt to escape Victor and the law enforcement surrounding the home.
Director Stephen Manuel smooths out some early bumps in the road to pave the way for a halfway decent thriller (I'm not completely comfortable labeling it a horror film to be honest), the independently released PERFECT HIDEOUT. Despite some stiff acting in the films opening shots, this low budget offering isn’t half bad. After being introduced to Nick and Celia I was concerned, this is after all, 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. But Billy Zane’s character Victor is quickly pulled into the fold, and Zane’s commanding presence actually manages to phon the best from Solimeno and Cohen. That’s not indicative of a complete 180, but the dialog becomes noticeably looser as the story is told, and Nick’s humor actually begins to work well along de Zane’s dry but menacing approach midway through the venture. I suppose all that really need be said is: Billy Zane is Billy Zane - maniacal fun, and humorous on all fronts.
PERFECT HIDEOUT’s surpring coheveness really comes down to the fact that despite being relatively green in the field, script writers Andreas Brune and Sven Frauenhoff understand the limitations of a minimal budget. There is no pretending here; there aren’t any great FX at work, filming locations are as limited as posble, and the ze of the cast isn’t exactly monstrous. Honesty and self awareness can go a long way as well. While the dialog (as previously noted) is rough in spots, there are a lot of effective vocal exchanges, and a lack of lengthy monologues denotes an awareness of self deficiencies. It’s not always easy to recognize and accept that you’re not as well rounded as you could be. Brune and Frauenhoff know where they stand, and their controlled path empowers a few inexperienced actors, and ultimately enables the creation of a straight-forward and fairly enjoyable picture.
Though (as i mentioned) I wouldn’t personally label PERFECT HIDEOUT a comfortable redent of the Horror genre, I can see how it may be viewed as such. There’s a nonchalant darkness within Victor that could ealy be clasfied as evil. There’s a few twisted visuals, plenty of sadism and a fair share of blood tossed in as well. Billy Zane’s grim comedy is also a bit frightening; some love the man, some hate him - I personally feel Mr. Zane is tailor made for the game of gruesome. He helped make DEMON NIGHT an awesome film, and he helped to save what could well have been a complete disaster: PERFECT HIDEOUT.
My most gnificant complaint about PERFECT HIDEOUT is a serious lack of extras on the DVD. There’s no deleted scenes, no crew commentary whatsoever, no behind the scenes footage. Damn near nothing…save for a photo gallery. Let’s be real, it’s a bit of a disappointment when the best bonus feature a DVD package offers is a photo gallery.