Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review – A Watchable Tubi Original

Drama, Thriller | 89 Min
Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review
  • Director: Todd Bogin
  • Actors: Liana Liberato, Jordan Rodrigues, Rumer Willis, Richard Kind, Stef Dawson
  • Writers: Todd Bogin, Omali Jeffers, Frederic J.A. Richter
  • Producers: Gabriel Francisco, Rafael Francisco, Dustin Williams
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Language, Violence
  • Drama, Thriller | 89 Min

Hidden Exposure follows the story of dancer Sabina. After giving up most of her dreams to support her dim witted partner Ramsey. Sabina is devastated when he ends the relationship over a seemingly trivial argument. Determined to get answers and to confront Ramsey. Sabina follows him to his new home and interjects herself into his new relationship.

Welcome to Knockout Horror. Today we are enjoying the rarest of rare treats. An actually watchable Tubi Original horror movie. I know what you are thinking, there is no such thing. But you might actually be pleasantly surprised by today’s movie. Well, it is either that or my standards have dropped so much that I am no longer a good judge? Let’s find out as we review Todd Bogin’s Hidden Exposure from 2023.

Hidden Exposure (terrible title by the way) follows the story of dancer Sabina (Liana Liberato). After giving up most of her dreams to support her dim witted partner Ramsey (Jordan Rodrigues). Sabina is devastated when he ends the relationship over a, seemingly, trivial argument. Determined to get answers and to confront Ramsey. Sabina follows him to his new home and interjects herself into his new relationship.

Before you carry on reading. If you end up watching this movie and want to get a little deeper into the plot. How about reading 6,000+ words of me rambling on about it? Okay so you don’t have to read the whole thing. That would be a big ask. But feel free to check out our Hidden Exposure Ending Explained article where I clear up some of the movie’s more cryptic moments. We also talk a lot about narcissism and mental abuse. Be warned, however, it is not spoiler free, unlike this review which is.

Definitely Not a Horror Movie

You might be thinking, reading that synopsis, that it doesn’t sound very much like the plot of a horror movie. And, you know what? You would be completely correct. Hidden Exposure really isn’t a horror movie at all. I have no idea why Tubi has slapped it into the horror category. Maybe because a lot of horror fans don’t mind the occasional thriller? I am not sure but this is pretty common with streaming services. It’s hard to run a horror review site without covering thrillers every now and then.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

Hidden Exposure, to be perfectly honest, isn’t much of a thriller, either. It would be best described as a drama with a few moments of tension and a small amount of gore. At its heart, it is simply a story of a jilted lover looking for some measure of revenge. There is virtually no tension. Absolutely nothing in the way of scares and very little in the way of thriller elements. Think Fatal Attraction but with a twist on the plot and a far less tought atmosphere. That’s not, necessarily, a bad thing, though. There is a perfectly watchable movie here. Just one that might not appeal to horror fans.

Fairly Compelling Character Drama

As established, Hidden Exposure is more of a drama than anything else. One that focuses on the tense love triangle between Sabina, her ex boyfriend and his new partner. Despite being offered the chance of a lifetime dancing in a major production. Sabina’s recovery from the breakup was impacted by a chance meeting with Ramsey. Resulting in her pushing her dreams to one side so that she can finally put the situation to bed once and for all. The vast majority of the movie focuses on Sabina’s pursuit of her ex boyfriend.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

Themes of mental abuse and controlling, coercive, behaviour take centre stage. Pushing potential thriller elements to one side. Instead, this is a movie that acts as a character study of Sabina as she attempts to recover from a terrible relationship with a manipulative narcissist. And, for the most part, it works pretty well. Sabina’s motivations are, somewhat, clear considering that she is a victim of abuse. And the events that play out are pretty compelling throughout. The story doesn’t have too many down moments and things flow along quite nicely. 

Relatable Themes

I am sure there are plenty of people that will relate to some of the situations presented here. Most people will experience bad relationships at one point or another and partner manipulation is an all too common occurrence. Whereas I am absolutely sick and tired of people misusing the term “gas lighting”. Given the current level of increased awareness regarding abuse and damaging relationships. The themes at play here feel very apt. There will definitely be a whole group of people who see the actions of Ramsey reflected in current, or past, partners.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

The subtlety of Ramsey’s abuse and Sabina’s somewhat muted reaction to it are, frankly, extremely well done. Writers often have a tendency to swing too far in one direction with these kinds of characters. Making them wildly violent or dangerously controlling. Hidden Exposure presents a much more subtle and far more common version of abuse. The type that revolves around quietly demeaning a person. Ridiculing their ambitions, hopes and dreams. Undermining their belief systems and constructing a narrative that they are unimportant and perpetually wrong.

Realistic Portrayals

Hidden Exposure’s depiction of abuse is all too real which, actually, makes it all the more frightening. Ramsey is a complete waste of skin and air. Yet he consistently tramples all over the ambitions of the amazingly talented Sabina. When he is done with her, he discards her and moves on to someone else to leach off of their success. Hidden Exposure presents the viewer with a character that is incredibly realistic and a version of abuse that is both nuanced and recognisable. 

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

Sabina also feels like a very real character. Her initial reactions to the situation taking place are completely believable. Especially when framed against a background of manipulation and coercion. You genuinely feel for her and will be consistently wondering why the hell she is wasting her time with such an obnoxious dullard. Giving up amazing opportunities is something that will be relatable to many. There is a palpable sense of frustration when witnessing Sabina having the opportunity to make something of herself. Only to let it slip away. The question is, does all of this relationship drama and character building make for a good movie?

Yes and No

Again, I have to emphasise this point. If you hit up Tubi’s horror section and saw this film, you are likely going to feel short changed. It isn’t a horror. As a movie, it works quite well. It’s fairly interesting and the story is easy to engage in. I can’t help but feel a slight feeling of “meh”, however, when it comes to Hidden Exposure. It never feels as though it peaks. It is very much content in being a rather run of the mill drama movie. Which makes me wonder how it would weigh up compared to other dramas.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

The writer does a great job avoiding some of the typical trends of these types of “ex lover takes revenge” movies. And manages to take the story in a few unexpected directions. But it never made me care a great deal. It’s one of those stories where you feel the logical end would come somewhere within the first 20 minutes. Ramsey splits up with Sabina, she moves on, story over. Everything after that feels a bit convoluted and rather unnecessary. Sabina’s motivations seem understandable at first. But as the movie goes on they become more and more ridiculous and make less and less sense. 

A Few Issues

Hidden Exposure is a gorgeous film and clearly the work of a talented cinematographer. But, when it comes to direction, there are a few issues. This movie has a very poorly established time line. Bogin’s use of flashbacks and a non-linear timeline lead to a few issues. There is very little to denote one time period from another. Meaning months will pass with little to no indication of how long it has been.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

This makes some of the events that take place seem somewhat confusing and a bit out of sequence. In fact, in a few scenes you will be watching one event taking place in the future while another past event plays out alongside it. Adding to the confusion and requiring a bit of catch up on the viewer’s part. I’m sure this is deliberate but a more experienced director would find a way to make things a bit more clear. 

I felt as though sound production was a bit of an issue here. Mics are way over sensitive leading to a lot of hiss, some distortion, and a ridiculous amount of noises like lip smacking coming through on the track. It seems as though sound production is a real lacking department as of late. That ability to mix the movie down in a way that sounds good is a lost art.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

The movie really stretches the realms of possibility at times, too. Forcing the viewer to engage in some rather nonsensical plot elements. For example, characters sharing a tiny town together but never encountering each other. Things being taken from a person without them noticing. Things happening that lead to major plot exposition but don’t really make much sense. There are a few leaps of logic here that undermine the plot, somewhat. That’s without mentioning the fact that everyone refers to Ramsey as “that handsome guy”. Despite him being a slightly above average looking dude. It’s extremely hard to believe that Ramsey would have his pick of these women. Especially given his very obvious character flaws.

A Terrible Ending

The biggest problem of all, however, is the end. Hidden Exposure’s ending is left extremely open. It finishes up with a massive revelation that leaves the viewer wanting to see more. Only to roll the credits, basically letting you decide for yourself. Writers are so unbelievably lazy, nowadays. Do you want the viewer to have partial writing credits? People might thing that I am exaggerating but this is something I see continually. And by that I mean that 70% of the recent movies I review seem to end indecisively. I am fairly sure that writing a satisfying ending is a difficult thing to do. But choosing to leave it open undermines the viewer’s time.

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

Everything that takes place in Hidden Exposure is building up to a conclusion and a character facing consequence. The movie is rather milquetoast for the most part. Featuring a bunch of relationship drama that most people won’t care a great deal about. The consequence here is everything to the plot. It is the reason to engage in the story and the reason to invest in the characters.

For some reason, the writers here decided that the viewer didn’t need to see this. And cut the movie short leaving everything open ended. This really isn’t a problem when the story is compelling on its own and gearing up to a question mark ending. But when the ending is pivotal to the story, I have major issues with it. Hidden Exposure will likely make you feel like you wasted your time. It certainly won’t leave you feeling satisfied or like your investment in the characters has paid off. It’s a big negative when reviewing this movie.

Acting is Decent

Acting is pretty solid throughout. Liana Liberato is extremely good as Sabina. I did not like her performance in The Beach House at all. I thought she was emotionally flat, nasally, and a bit uninterested. She is the complete opposite here. She brings nuance to her character, is fantastic at expressing her character’s feelings, and makes Sabina feel like a real person. Excellent stuff. The writing is, at times, rather clumsy but Liberato makes it feel natural. She also looks fantastic here making Ramsey seem even more average than he really is. Something which actually adds to the story because you are constantly wondering “what is she doing lowering her standards for this dude?”. It never works ladies, don’t lower your standards for us men. Look at what happened to Gabby Petito (I kid, I kid).

I don’t think Jordan Rodrigues quite fits the character profile of Ramsey. The way characters talk about him and the way women fawn over him. You would think that this was Chris Hemsworth. My fiancee thought that Ramsey might have been played by one of the writers who decided to big himself up a bit in the script. That’s not the case, of course, but an amusing observation. Rodrigues is definitely not a heartthrob but he does a good job. He really nails the narcissistic traits of his character. Using a quiet delivery to demean Sabina and giving Ramsey a genuine feeling of creepiness that you would expect from a character like this. 

Hidden Exposure (2023) Movie Review

Bruce Willis’ and Demi Moore’s daughter Rumer Willis, as Alvy, is okay. She sure likes smiling a lot. A few of her scenes felt a lot like something you would see in a commercial for a diabetes drug. You know the type, when they are all smiling maniacally while the voiceover tells you how the drug will probably cause your ovaries to explode, testicles to fall off, or rectum to prolapse? She reminded me of Andie MacDowell for some reason. To be honest, her character doesn’t have much in the way of personality outside of “grinning constantly and looking like a hippy” but she sure does okay with this. Richard Kind is great in a brief role as Alvy’s dad but you could probably guess that. Whoever played the innkeeper was on screen for about five minutes and didn’t leave a single piece of scenery unchewed. 

Final Thoughts and Score

Hidden Exposure is a movie that is increasingly rare nowadays. A Tubi Original horror that is actually entirely watchable. The only problem is that it isn’t a horror movie at all. It is barely even a thriller. This is not the movie to go into believing the advertising. You will be disappointed as you find yourself balls deep in relationship drama. It’s still a decent movie, though, and well worth a watch. Especially considering the fact that it is free.

Acting is, generally, decent. With Liana Liberato being of particular note. The story is fairly interesting and the movie looks absolutely gorgeous. There are some issues here and there. The timeline is messy and the ending is a big negative. But Hidden Exposure is a good movie that is worth 90 minutes of your time. Just don’t go into it expecting even a hint of horror or you will be disappointed.

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