BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS (2016)

Director: Mike Flanagan

Starring: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan

Can you fear what you can’t hear?

 

A low budget home invasion movie. More to the point, another home invasion movie. A genre becoming saturated with template movies has a new attendee in the form of Hush. From the team at Blumhouse Productions and delivered straight to Netflix, pulses weren’t racing. However, never judge a movie by its platform – Hush delivers a tense, snappy experience that doesn’t overly bother with scene setting, instead preferring to get straight to the chase…or the hunt.

What Hush does have over its peers is a killer hook – the prey/heroine/victim is deaf and mute.

Centred on top-class performances by Kate Siegel (playing Maddie and who also co-wrote the movie) and John Gallagher Jr. (the mystery hunter, credited as the Man), the premise of the movie holds no surprises – we have a single woman living alone in an isolated woodland home. So, nothing new there. However, what the movie does is it embraces any clichés and ties them into the disability, without ever hanging onto it or overly-exploiting it. With Maddie on the inside and the Man locked outside, the cat and mouse game employed doesn’t necessarily require loud bangs and jump scares – but you’ll find some scattered throughout. Director Mike Flanagan uses silence brilliantly to convey the atmosphere inside the house, and Maddie only speaks within her mind briefly, giving the audience access to her internal thoughts. It isn’t completely silent however, with the sounds of breathing, footsteps and outside noises always creeping through the speakers. 

 

On that note, there is also a lot of foreshadowing to events that never actually happen, which is refreshing (i.e. the multiple calls to an ex-boyfriend, who we expect to appear...) 

 

Ensuring the movie doesn’t fall away too much, the writers have cleverly made sure that Maddie doesn’t utilise superhero-type abilities or is a secret genius able to circumvent any situation. In fact, the movie rocks back and forward in terms of who has the advantage as both characters master their own surroundings. There are moments around two-thirds of the way in that begin to drag, but nothing heinous, and whilst certain moments of the film have been done before or seem unintelligible, the movie makes sure it fills in the blanks as to why certain things are happening or certain decisions are made.  That being said, Michael Trucco’s character ranks sky high on the idiot scale when he appears for his cameo as the confused and concerned neighbour. 

 

Packed full of suspense and atmosphere, Hush provides a great thriller/horror experience that starts fast and never lets up until the end. No nonsense and nothing fancy, Hush does what a good thriller should do - creep you out and send you rushing to check your doors are locked. Alongside horror legends Stephen King and William Friedkin, Hush can add WIWT to their list of supporters. 

 

If you ever find yourself in the position of receiving photos of yourself at that very moment to your tablet, panic.

March 31st 2017

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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