Directed by | Mike Flanagan
Produced by | Trevor Macy, Jason Blum
Written by | Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel
Starring | Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jnr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan
Run Time | 81 minutes
Certificate | 15
Plot | Deaf author Maddie (Siegel) is stalked in her secluded home by a masked man (Gallagher Jnr.). She must overcome her initial fears to try and survive the encounter.
Review | While home invasion movies have been done to death of late, occasionally there’s one or two that stand out from the pack. Hush is one such film that we can happily say joins the ranks of those such as You’re Next as a cut above.
Hush is a pretty simple film. We get about fifteen minutes or so of scene setting (Maddie’s friend Sarah (Samantha Sloyan) comes to visit and they talk ex-boyfriends, the nuances of learning sign language and the writer’s block that our heroine is currently experiencing), before we’re thrown straight into the action.
Everything about Hush is built upon Maddie’s profound deafness. There is a brilliantly shot early scene of her cooking where the audience is treat to all the delicious sizzles, crackles and other auditory cues associated with some tasty grub – only fall this to fade away to abject silence when the camera rests on her. We are then shown what she experiences and how she copes, relying on both vision and taste much more than a person with hearing would.
A much more terrifying example signals the change in mood from leafy drama to horrific terror. It’s one that we will not spoil, and though it should probably be an obvious jumping off point it is executed brilliantly.
Once our antagonist makes his move, Hush initiates an hour long game of cat-and-mouse.
While Hush doesn’t re-invent the wheel, it is a really well made, well paced piece of small screen cinema (released ‘straight-to-Netflix’). Siegel (Oculus, Demon Legacy) is totally convincing as our protagonist – a talented writer that lost her hearing and speech around the age of 13. Opposing her, Gallagher Jnr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, HBO’s The Newsroom) is creepy as hell. While the majority of the film focuses on these two, the principal support comes from Sloyan (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) and Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica, Revenge) who both do well with the roles they have.
Curiously, and to its credit, Hush doesn’t rely on jump scares to terrify its audience. Instead, Flanagan (director and co-writer, along with Siegel) opt for a more stalkerish approach. The terror is not working out when the killer will strike, but knowing that he’s just toying with her, setting her up for the seemingly inevitable denouement.
There’s little wrong with Hush. Yes, there are some standard tropes wheeled out, though most are handled well. There’s also a fairly blatant examples of Chekov’s Gun that is a key aspect of the final sequence that could have bee written a smidge more subtly. However, these are minor gripes in what is an efficient, tense, entertaining horror.
The Verdict | A simple but effective horror movie that doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares to terrify its audience.