For incomprehensible reasons (money?), the director of the 2012 Spanish language film Hidden in the Woods remade it two years later in English, starring Michael Biehn. This is the ultimate case of an English language remake totally watering down the original source material. So much so that the original could actually be sub-categorized as a horror film while the remake totally isn’t. Here’s why.
HIDDEN IN THE WOODS (2012)
I can’t say that combining a drug lord flick with backwoods horror will ever truly work for me, but this fricking movie definitely kept me watching just to find out how the hell it was going to turn into a horror movie. All the fucked up shit that happens along the way also helped keep my attention…while also making me hope this definitely was going to turn horror, because I had to sit through some horrible treatment of women before the payoff.
This sleazy psycho dude lives in the middle of nowhere with his family. He physically and sexually abuses the hell out of his two daughters and keeps his deformed male child locked up.
When cops show up on his doorstep and his abuses are about to be exposed, he whips out a chainsaw and shit gets goooory.
He’s tossed in jail and the kids are on the run from his drug lord brother’s cronies. One sister, in an effort to make money to keep them alive, gifts us with a spit not swallow montage. Seriously, there’s a cock sucking whore montage in this film, and after every blow, the cum has gotta go, so she spits it out.
When the uncle’s baddies find the kids, the real horror starts…and makes it kind of annoying to see that these quite capable runaways didn’t just overpower their abusive dad years before.
I won’t spoil the twist that has the kids in a fight for their lives in the woods, but I will say it’s definitely where the horror comes in…although not in a way you’d expect. But eventually, the movie reverts back to a drug lord flick for an absurd gun fighting bloodbath that would make Tarantino jealous.
HIDDEN IN THE WOODS (2014)
So much for unapologetic brutality. This remake is essentially the same movie—minus the fucked up details that served as a feeding tube for horror fans.
Biehn takes on the father role with great grit…the film just doesn’t grit down with him. Nothing here feels as intense or disturbing. The little boy isn’t even deformed, which vastly negates the gruesome backwoods angle later in the film.
The scene with the cops showing up is ridiculously re-enacted; one cop is holding her gun pointed right at Biehn as he approaches her in broad daylight with his revving chainsaw. Then the camera does a 360 around her and…she doesn’t know where he is any longer and he sneaks up behind her.
NO. Seriously, NO. Nothing disoriented her, she wasn’t tricked by his fancy hiding games with a growling weapon in his hands, and she sure as hell didn’t experience the dizzying camera POV we did. There’s NO WAY she lost sight of him or afforded him the opportunity to sneak up on her. Shameful filmmaking…unless this was some sort of comment on how police will just never shoot a fucking white guy, in which case, awesome.
A scene in which the girls hitch a ride with a pervy dude is reimagined—with a predatory bull dyke behind the wheel. And while the hard-working sister does score money by giving head, we get none of the eloquent spit jobs! I guess she swallows in this one. Hope she raised her prices.
And when the drug dealing uncle’s cronies catch up with them, pretty much all the brutal torture is totally absent, as is the gore when the kids fight back. Personally, it would break my heart to strip my movie of all its nastiness for an American remake. Although, I guess my heart would heal for a paycheck, because this definitely can’t be a case of a director being like, “If you’re going to remake my movie, I’m going to make sure you do it right.” Because he didn’t.
The absolute worst rewrite here is…one of the sister’s gets a love interest! Fucking America and its obsession with pandering to hetero storybook aspirations.