The isolated internet cafe of Hideout (소굴)

The isolated internet cafe in          Hideout (소굴)

Driving alone through the countryside in winter, a journalist is in danger of missing a crucial deadline. Spying an isolated internet cafe (PC 방) on a rural road, the journalist pulls over and enters the basement domain where she can complete her assignment, but doesn’t realise the other occupants may have criminal agendas.

The journalist must defend herself

The journalist must defend herself

The Hideout (소굴) has a simple and generic, but interesting premise. Trapped in the basement of a remote internet cafe, the female journalist must use her ingenuity to overcome all obstacles and escape her basement prison. Her captors are ambiguous to say the least, and while they certainly qualify as unnerving miscreants, their true motives are never fully revealed. The Hideout is successful in conveying the fear of being a lone woman trapped in a situation she cannot escape, although the ambiguity of her ‘jailors’ are such that the journalist often appears paranoid and unstable.

Expressionist lighting conveys suspense in the basement internet cafe

Expressionist lighting conveys suspense in the basement internet cafe

Director Lee Chang-hee (이창희) competently creates an eerie atmosphere in its 30 minute running time, however a narrative as simple as The Hideout requires a directorial flair to convey suspense and horror which is unfortunately lacking. There are sufficient obstacles in the path of the main protagonist as she attempts to flee, yet narrative devices such as a uncharged cell phone battery, power cuts and sharp instruments are hardly original. The Hideout is successful in representing a powerful female central character and her resourcefulness, and there are adequate moments of suspense and tension that make it compelling enough to be invested in the safety of the journalist, which is under constant threat. It may well be unoriginal, but The Hideout contains more tension and suspense than typical teen-slasher films.


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