'Hideaway' Really Grabs Teens Who Get Thrills From Chills

Lynn Smith is a staff writer for the Times' Life & Style section.

In "The Hideaway," a film version of the Dean Koontz novel, a devoted husband and father is revived two hours after clinical death only to find out he has a photo-psychic relationship with his surgeon's son, a serial murderer who starts stalking the man's teen-age daughter. (Rated R)

It's ironic that the R-rating restricts roving packs of teen-agers under 17, who may be the very audience to appreciate this scary but corny teen slasher.

Adults could be heard chuckling throughout the movie and left the theater shaking their heads and saying things like, "I'd give it three thumbs down."

But the four kids who sneaked in just after the titles were thrilled. Two, in fact, were back for the third time.

They like to be scared, they said. And "The Hideaway" did the job.

"It was very, like, I don't know the word, where you sit on the edge of your seat. Entertaining," said Lisa Koprinik, 14, a fan of horror flicks.

Her friend Vince Balog, 15, insisted that Lisa was back for the third time only to see Jeremy Sisto, the Gen X actor who plays Vasago, the smooth-talking slasher in shades.

She admitted he accounted for part of her attraction. But essentially, she said, "it was the whole thing."

April Holechek, 13, also back for the third time, said simply, "I love it."

None had read the novel, so they were unaware the original story was set in Orange County. The movie is set in a nameless upper class suburb but basically follows Koontz's book, which has a Laguna Niguel couple, who sell antiques in Laguna Beach, returning from a vacation at Lake Arrowhead when a car accident plunges them into an icy stream.

Although clinically dead, the father, Hatch (played by Jeff Goldblum), is revived by a surgeon who created a special program in "resuscitative medicine" after having revived his own son.

The son, who renamed himself Vasago, had impaled himself after stabbing to death his mother and sister.

A battle of good and evil ensues when Hatch and Vasago begin to see through each others' eyes.

When Vasago begins to stalk Hatch's rebellious 15-year-old daughter, Regina, the race is on.

Vince said he enjoyed the computer graphics used to illustrate the near death journey to the beyond and back. Red for Vasago. Blue for Hatch.

Some said they hadn't seen the subject of the beyond treated on the big screen since "Flatliners."

But the "good beats evil" plot was too much for Vince. "Just for once," he said, he'd like to see evil win out.

Lisa agreed: "It happens, like, in every movie. The good people always win."

Why should evil triumph? "I mean, I'd rather, like, maybe, like, I mean, I don't know." She tried again: "It's like, it'd be like, for once, like the bad people winning, I mean, like, I don't know, it would be more suspenseful."


But even with its flaws, the movie had enough teen victims, blood, gore and intensity for kids who like that stuff.

Their parents know and care what they see, the kids said.

"But they think I can handle it," Lisa said.

The only movie that ever gave him nightmares, Vince said, was "Jaws."

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