DIRECTOR: Mike Flanagan
John Gallagher Jr.
Maddie is a successful author who is currently working on finishing her next novel. At the age of thirteen, Maddie lost both her hearing and voice when she was struck with a bout of bacterial meningitis. While writing her latest novel, she has retreated to an isolated house in the woods to try and finish the book without any distractions. Little does Maddie realise that a masked killer will show up on her doorstep during the night and has incredibly sinister plans for Maddie.
I was excited to watch Hush as I was a huge fan of Mike Flanagan's previous movie Oculus. The early reviews had the movie sitting pretty at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and this got me even more hyped for his next directional effort. I'm not one to trust critics opinions on films as I find myself disagreeing more than I do agree with them but I had faith that Mike Flanagan could give us another solid film. Luckily, the hype, this time, was correct as I really enjoyed his take on the home invasion sub-genre.
Home Invasion films are a big thing of late. We've had a massive influx in the horror genre with positive titles such as You're Next and The Strangers come out in recent years. We've also had a few misses with movies like the remake of When A Stranger Calls and Intruders. Hush is luckily one that we can add to the pile of positive home invasion flicks. The movie is not perfect by any means but its one of the more intense and most well-crafted horror films I've seen so far in 2016.
These days, with the number of movies that feature home invasions, it's hard to find one that adds anything really original to the sub-genre. Luckily for the audience, Hush has one element up its sleeve and its the most significant selling point of the film. The aspect is the fact that the plot features a main character who is deaf and also unable to talk or scream. This gives us a few neat flourishes from a technical aspect. It offers something I hadn't yet seen in a home invasion film.
The sound design in Hush is absolutely fantastic. The film relies heavily on throwing the audience directly into the situation with our main character Maddie. As she tries to survive throughout the night while being unable to hear the killer, we the audience go through the same horrors as Maddie does in what feels like real time. The sound design fades in and out throughout the film to show you precisely what Maddie can't hear and when the sound is used to heighten the tension, it works wonders every single time.
The acting from this very minimal cast is another massive positive of this film. Katie Siegel is our main protagonist. I've seen her in interviews after watching Hush, and clearly, she isn't deaf in real life but not remembering her other roles before seeing Hush, I was under the impression she was deaf in real life. John Gallagher Jr who will be known for his role in another significant 2016 horror film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is excellent as the vicious masked killer in Hush. I also really enjoyed how they handled the reveal once he removed his mask. I expected the reveal to lessen the intensity once he shows his face but John Gallagher Jr. plays an extremely creepy psychopath.
While I didn't find Hush incredibly scary, the film is pretty intense from the first kill onwards. The film doesn't stop moving from this point on. It ramps up the tension repeatedly right until the credits begin to roll. There are a few set pieces here that are exceptionally well structured and choreographed and had me on the edge of my seat. You really do root for Maddie and want to see this woman make it out of this horrible situation alive.
My most significant issues with Hush come in the form of character decisions and the choices that are made during her ordeal. Some of the choices that are made become increasingly frustrating as it's probably not what I'd have done if I were in the same situation. A scene involving the male neighbour is one of the moments that would call for Maddie to strike but she does nothing at all. Another decision is when she ditches the knife early on or even sitting around in rooms concocting plans while her killer hunts her down. They aren't huge issues but just little things that became frustrating.
Lastly, for a movie that is set in the wilderness and the vast majority of the story takes place in one cabin, Mike Flanagan has made a gorgeous looking film. The movie has a budget of only a million dollars, which may seem like a lot but considering the film, this is low budget by today's standards. He gets every shot possible with that money. The film could've been dull to look at, but Mike Flanagan is such a reliable genre filmmaker that he crafts a beautiful looking film.
DEATH TOLL: 3
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone is shot with a crossbow.
- Fingers crushed in a window frame.
- A hammer claw to the arm.
- Someone is shot in the leg with an arrow.
- A skull is crushed by a rock.
- A man is stabbed in the throat.
- Someone's fingers are broken and snapped.
- A man is stuck in the kneecap and shoulder.
- A corkscrew slammed into someone's jugular.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach.
Hush joins a long list of home invasion/cabin in the woods type horror films. The movie adds an original element into the proceedings by making the character deaf and unable to talk. This adds another level to the film. Hush is an edge of your seat and thrilling flick that has some solid kills and some of the best sound design of the year. One of the best thrillers I've seen in 2016. Mike Flanagan is one of the best genre filmmakers working today.