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Hidden Movie Explained- What Is The Virus And Who Are The Breathers?

The Duffer Brothers are having a great week. Not only has Stranger Things Season 4 just been released on Netflix, but their 2015 movie Hidden has seen a resurgence. They have a talent for turning our assumptions against us and making us think about what real evil looks like. The psychological thriller plays with perspective and what we presume. The single-family and location focus limits the scope of our understanding which allows for the final act twist to be clever if not groundbreaking. The film’s title has several meanings that reveal themselves throughout the film. Here’s everything you need to know about the HIdden movie and that twist ending.

Official Trailer Screengrab

A family living an everyday modern life has their world turned upside down when an inexplicable fire unleashes something that changes everyone it comes into contact with. Ray, The Northmen’s Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Claire, Mandy’s Andrea Riseborough, and young daughter Zoe(Emily Alyn Lind) have survived nearly a year by staying hidden from monsters they call Breathers. The trio is barely enduring having found a bomb shelter just seconds before their entire town was destroyed by military planes dropping explosives. They have managed to ration their meager supplies and now desperately cling to each other and their wits.

Claire and Ray live by a specific set of rules designed to keep them safe and hidden from the Breathers actively hunting them. They must remain calm and in the shelter. At first, these rules seem designed to help them navigate their new claustrophobic world with dangers everywhere. To lose control in this environment would mean certain death. However, when a series of accidents gives away their location, the family finds itself in a fight for their lives.

The ending of Hidden

At the end of Hidden Ray, Claire, and Zoe accidentally set fire to their shelter while trying to kill a rat who had been stealing food. Ray and Claire try to determine how bad the situation is by leaving the bunker, but Zoe sees Breathers and freaks out. Her cries give away their location, and the Breathers descend. The smoke and ash alerted the military, and Zoe’s noise made it worse. With the door blocked their only chance of escape is through a vent. Ray is too big, though, and stays behind to fight off the Breathers while his family escapes. Claire and Zoe run through their bombed-out town and find themselves back where it all started at the quarantine checkpoint.

A CDC net falls on Clarie and Zoe, and they are captured, and blood is drawn. Just before they are shot, Claire begins acting erratically, and Ray appears. He survived after all and pretended to be a Breather to get to Claire and Zoe. At this point, a flashback fills in the details. The fire did infect everyone who came into contact with it. When Claire pulled the shelter door shut, she cut her hand. She realized her blood was tainted, and they were all already infected. The Breathers were ordinary humans, and our family was the superhuman monsters all along. No one became zombies or killers, although when emotions run high, things get dicey.

Fearing for their lives, all of the family lose control and begin killing the soldiers. Ray is killed in the process, but Claire and Zoe manage to escape. As they lose control, they gain super strength and are filled with homicidal anger. Zoe almost kills Claire in her rage, but Claire talks her down, and the real purpose of the rules becomes clear. They weren’t designed to keep them safe from the Breathers but to keep them safe from themselves, and whatever virus now runs through their veins.

Claire and Zoe next hide in a tunnel until they hear Zoe’s friend from the movie’s beginning. He takes the pair to the sewers where a group of fellow infectees and survivors have been living. Zoe tells her mother she sees the sun, which means it has been 302 days, and Claire says they aren’t days. Ray called the days miracles, and this was Claire’s way of honoring him and reminding Zoe of how much he loved her.

Official movie screengrab

Who were the Breathers?

The Breathers are soldiers who wear respiratory masks to protect them from whatever infection is in the air. Claire and Ray named them Breathers to distinguish them from people like them. The masks are scary to a child, and giving them a terrifying name establishes fear and rules that must be abided by for their safety. It ensured that Zoe would be scared of them and follow her parents’ rules. Much like how fairy tales were often used as deterrents to behavior society deemed detrimental. In reality, the Breathers were those who had not breathed in the tainted air and thus were not afflicted with the rage-inducing disease that those from Kingsville contracted. While we don’t know what disease everyone has, a few assumptions can be made.

The military’s quick and violent response indicates that they were probably aware of the problem almost immediately. What happened and who patient zero was is less important than why it happened at all. It can be assumed our government created the virus and accidentally released it on the unsuspecting town. Even more troubling is the possibility that the town’s small size and geography made it a perfect target for release and study. Was this town chosen to be experimented on? This would make the question of who the real monsters are even more interesting.

Hidden wants you to ask those questions. It sets up the story to make our family empathetic, only to turn the screws and reveal that they are dangerous. Similar to Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, who and what is worse is examined. It reminds me quite a bit of How It Ends, which also uses a mysterious catastrophic event to redefine our world. What happens next is integral to the narrative. Matt and Ross Duffer’s Hidden may not have the iconography of Stranger Things, but it definitely is worth a watch. Solid acting and an intelligent final act deliver an entertaining and thought-provoking thriller. What would you do to save your family?