(director/writer: Joel David Moore; screenwriter: based on the South Korea motion picture “Hide and Seek” by Jung Huh; cinematographer: Ryan Samul; editor: Josh Ethier/Michael Taylor; music: Tim Jones; cast: Geoffrey Owens (Lyle), Quinn McColgan (Hannah), Jacinda Barrett (Noah’s wife),  Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Noah Blackwell), Joe Pantoliano (Collin Carmichael, lawyer), Mustafa Shakir (Frankie Pascarillo), Alejandra Rivera Flaviá (Gina), Joshua Alscher (Jacob Blackwell), Pascal Yen-Pfister  (Callum Blackwell), Sue Jean Kim (Soo Mi), Eli Golden (Max), Michael Godere (Cisco); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producers; Declan Baldwin, Francis Chung, Tae-sung Jeong: Saban; 2021)

“It stinks.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The remake of the actor-turned-director Joel David Moore’s (“Spiral”/”Youth in Oregon”) South Korean film of the same title by Jung Huh is inferior and unneeded, in fact it stinks in comparison. It’s a thriller about a wealthy businessman involved in real estate development, Noah Blackwell (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), trying to find his missing junkie brother Jacob Blackwell (Joshua Alscher). Their hotel owner father has just died and left Noah the Grand Parkmore Hotel in Manhattan, where he lives in the penthouse with his privileged wife (Jacinda Barrett) and two kids. A guilt ridden Noah, after a dispute with his sibling, wants to find his brother to get him his share of the inheritance and meet with him before he might contest the will.

The uptight Noah ignores the family lawyer’s (Joe Pantoliano) legal advice to move on and forget about his troubled brother. Instead he heads to a slum building in Queens, his estranged brother’s last known address, a notorious condemned building (used in a gentrification scheme). It’s the same place in Noah’s nightmare where the woman squatter (Alejandra Rivera) in the prologue lived, who was killed by a seemingly faceless motorcycle rider in a helmet.

Logic is tossed and the film goes awry as the manic Noah, with no real proof, believes his brother is the helmeted motor cycle killer and the story becomes almost impossible to follow from there on. 

Despite the riveting intense performance by Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a fruitcake, the film can’t find its story in ‘hide and seek’ the way Huh did in making it creepy and believable and tantalizing.