In the film, Goldblum plays a man who dies in a car accident, only to be revived two hours later. After being revived, he experiences frightening visions. He begins to understand that he has become psychically connected to a serial killer, and that by cutting himself, he can actually induce the visions and see through the killer's eyes. Unfortunately, the vision works both ways, and the killer can also see through his eyes. Birmingham band Godflesh make a cameo appearance during one of the film's scenes.
After killing two women and ritualistically arranging their bodies as a sacrifice to Satan, a Devil worshipper (Sisto) invokes a Satanic verse in a room filled with candles and Satanic imagery. He then commits suicide by throwing himself onto an athame in order to damn his soul. What follows next is a near-death experience where the now dead killer flies through tunnels of light, eventually arriving at a gaping, tentacle like being of light who, after flashing through scenes of the recent brutal murders, darkens and casts the killer's soul down into Hell.
Hatch Harrison (Goldblum) is on a drive with his family. Harrison gets into a car accident and is pronounced dead, only to be revived two hours later by specialist Dr. Jonas Nyebern (Molina). During this time, Hatch experiences visions of the same tunnels of light as the killer from the first scene, but upon arriving for judgement is slowly floated into a surreal setting, where he sees his young daughter who died years before in a car accident. Hatch then enters Heaven and is merged into the light of a great angel. Upon being revived back to life, Hatch wakes up to learn that his wife Lindsay (Lahti), and daughter Regina (Silverstone), were also involved in the car accident but escaped without serious injuries. He then concludes that his visions of heaven were merely a dream.
After the accident and subsequent revival, Harrison begins to experience other mysterious visions. These involve him seeing murders through the eyes of a killer. Harrison realizes that the murders are actually happening when the women he sees being murdered are announced as missing in news reports. The character Harrison sees committing the murders is later shown to be the same character who committed suicide in the opening sequence. The man, who is identified as "Vassago", talks to Harrison's daughter at a night club, which Harrison sees in his visions.
Harrison attempts to stop Vassago from murdering only to be told that he is experiencing mental problems by his family, his psychiatrist, and the police. Harrison visits a psychic (Chong) who confirms his beliefs and tells him that Vassago is also having visions in which he can see through Harrison's eyes. It is then revealed that Vassago, whose real name is Jeremy Nyebern, is the son of Dr. Nyebern and he had killed his mother and sister. After his suicide, he had been revived from the dead by his father.
Vassago then kidnaps Regina, taking her to an abandoned amusement park where he kills his father after being confronted by him. As Harrison and his wife find them, the souls of Vassago and Harrison collide in battle. Harrison (revealing himself to Vassago as "Uriel," Vassago's antithesis) is the victor, killing Vassago and saving Regina. With his family safe, he exits the park with them.
The final scene after the credits shows Vassago being pulled in to be revived again. The operation is a success, but Vassago wakes up, takes a scalpel, and slits a nurse's throat. Hatch wakes up in his bed, realizing he was only dreaming. He then hugs Lindsay and falls back to sleep.Jeff Goldblum as Hatch Harrison
Christine Lahti as Lindsey Harrison
Alicia Silverstone as Regina Harrison
Jeremy Sisto as Vassago / Jeremy Nyebern
Alfred Molina as Dr. Jonas Nyebern
Rae Dawn Chong as Rose Orwetto
The film received negative reviews from critics, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 11 out of the 13 reviews they tallied were negative for a score of 15% and a certification of "rotten".Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film a poor review, but stated that Goldblum's performance "makes a tedious film intermittently tolerable." Film critic/historian Leonard Maltin characterized the movie as a "bomb" and added, "This goes nowhere for nearly two interminable hours." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a rare positive review, 3 stars out of a possible 4. He characterized it as a standard fare horror film that accomplishes its modest goals via good performances by a talented cast. He wrote: "Look, I'm not saying this is a great movie, or even a distinguished one. I'm saying: You want horror, you want psychic abandon, you want Rae Dawn Chong reading Jeff Goldblum's Tarot cards and not liking what she sees, you see this movie, you get your money's worth."
Koontz was reportedly unsatisfied with the film. According to Washington Post's Rita Kempley, "Koontz hates the movie so much he tried to force TriStar to remove his name from the credits." In addition, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Walter Addiego, Koontz was so dissatisfied with Hideaway that he would only allow a film adaptation of his novel Phantoms to be made if he was allowed to approve the final version of the film.
On his own website, Koontz states that pre-production of the film was promising under Mike Medavoy who wanted to preserve Koontz's vision for the story and ordered a rewrite of the first script at Koontz's request. However, Medavoy was removed from the film and new production staff did not communicate with Koontz about the film which departed drastically from his novel. Koontz ultimately resorted to legal means to get his name removed from the title of the film and from major advertising, but was unable to get his name removed from the credits. He also writes that he sent several letters to the Japanese CEO of the parent company of Universal/MCA, which had the rights to the film, requesting that his name be removed.
Hideaway made $12,201,255 in the US box office, less than the estimated budget of $15 million.