"Frank! Frank! Want me to get the PUMP?" You'll be laughing but catching your breath during some scenes like this one since some of Jennifer Tilly's funniest lines are delivered during some very harrowing scenes, making Cord (U.S. DVD/video title HIDE AND SEEK) a vicious, exhausting, thrilling experience. It delivered a lot more than I went in expecting it to.
Imagine the films Misery and Fargo getting criss-crossed! It takes a bit of work to make familiar material stand on its own, and this film does a wham-bang job of it. Daryl Hannah and Bruce Greenwood do the in-vitro fertilization procedure to get pregnant. In the meantime, Vince Gallo and Jennifer Tilly, also unable to have children, come up with a scheme to kidnap Daryl, fake her death so no one will look for her, and keep her chained in the basement until she delivers. With obvious nods to Misery, there are also beautifully calm, snowy landscape scenes scored just right to give a melancholy Fargo-esque feel. Some humor is apparent, but never gets to the Ruthless People level, this is indeed quite a serious thriller.
Jennifer Tilly is of course impossible to consider as only a supporting actress in this film, she is wildly over the top and irresistible at the same time. She's great at playing characters that are a bit zany, so why not? I say kudos to Tilly! I would love to have lunch with her some day! Daryl Hannah plays the victim well, building to a level of hysteria I haven't seen since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Vince Gallo has a sad calm about him throughout that always makes him an interesting choice for characters he plays, balancing Jennifer Tilly's child-like, off-kilter behavior. Bruce Greenwood and his six-pack abs do a fine job, and in a nice surprise his character isn't portrayed as the big hero saving the day, but he finds little clues that give him the suspicion his wife is not actually dead as everyone believes.
What's amazing is that just when you think things couldn't get any more excruciating or worse, they do, and THEN some! Some fake-outs and close calls keep the suspense going, even if at the climax we get a Misery/Friday The 13th "can't keep the killer down just yet" type of battle, but with the taut suspense and great performances, any little things to gripe about seem unimportant as this is intended as a wild ride and it definitely delivers that. My ONLY gripe: whose brilliant idea was it to put THE END right where we can obviously tell the film ends? It just seemed to take away something from the film. In some films putting the words THE END works alright, but just fading out like it did would have sufficed.
It's pure fun! Those looking for some thrills, suspense, and especially Jennifer Tilly's nutsy fun will get a lot out of CORD/HIDE AND SEEK. While so many theatrical releases just come and go without causing a stir, people should seek out lesser known gems like this one for guaranteed entertainment. It's films like this one that have me seeking out more Canadian productions to enjoy.