MOVIE REVIEW: Hush

Safe to say I out of all my senses hearing is the one I take for granted most. To be honest, I abuse the hell out of it. Loud music, loud movies, loud video games if I enjoy it it’s probably dangerously loud and extremely harmful. My self damaging attitude towards this essential sense is something I never really thought about. I treat my hearing like the internet. Not sure how it works or how it got here, but I freak the hell out when it’s gone. When it comes to hearing who the hell really thinks about it? Except for people who are unlucky enough to never have it (or even worse  had it then lost it), it’s an essential  part of how we experience life and we never give it a second thought. Writer/director Mike Flanagan’s latest offering, Hush he gives us just that: A character whose coping with life without the ability to hear and the struggles that come along with it… and trying hard not be shot to death by a crossbow…

Maddie (Katie Siegel) is a deaf novelist working on her second book. After a rough break-up with her boyfriend Maddie has moved to a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere and decided to embrace isolation. A bit drastic, but better than what I do after break-ups ( eating my weight in chocolate pudding, crying uncontrollably while and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy… I’m a glutton for punishment…). Maddie has come down with a mean case of writer’s block and is struggling to finish (start?) her second novel. After a ruined dinner with a close friend, Maddie attempts to dive back into her work, but like most of us know, working from home comes with its distractions. Texting, fucking around on the internet (hours of my life wasted watching cute kitten videos…) and of course being stalked by a homicidal, masked psychopath… Well that last one might be more unique to Maddie. Living a life of solitude in the middle of nowhere always sounds like a great idea, but we tend to overlook the getting stabbed to death part. Poor Maddie…

Mike Flanagan knows how to add layers to his flicks. He is able to play with certain aspects organically and never comes off as gimmicky or  He expertly played with timelines in Oculus (2014) in a way that added to the tension and terror. With Hush he plays with the sound design (or lack there of) in the first act and it really adds a layer of tension, but sadly he lets this dwindle into a straight ‘cat and mouse’ home invasion flick. Aside from one really tense moment towards the end (great scene in the bathroom) it’s almost unnecessary that Maddie is deaf.  I’m not shitting on the flick here, just thought he wasted what could be a really cool layer to the home invasion sub-genre. Still he delivers up a tight, nail biter featuring a strong lead that we care about and root for.

Speaking of leads Katie Siegel (also co-writer and Flanagan’s spouse) does a hell of a job here. I know it’s not super hard to convey not hearing people (My wife is proof of that…Hey Oh!), but with very little lines we learn so much about Maddie and I couldn’t help but feel for her. Not just sympathy from loosing her hearing because she’s a strong-willed human, who has not let her hearing stop her. She’s a fighter who has overcome a lot and a crossbow wielding killer is not taking her down without a fight. Speaking of crossbow wielding killers, John Gallagher plays the unnamed killer (credited as ‘Man’) with unclear motives aside from wanting to watching people suffer before brutally murdering them. The lack of motive might be what makes ‘Man’ so damn frightening and Gallagher’s deadpan delivery helps cement this. We’ve seen plenty of onscreen killers with no motives (Strangers, Them etc), but ‘Man’ is not just some random killer (well he is random), he is a hunter and takes pure joy out of playing with his prey before finishing them off. With these two sharing most of the screen time, it’s good that they both deliver strong performances and it’s awesome to finally have a director’s spouse who can act… looking at you Rob Zombie…

Hush is a tight and entertaining genre flick with strong acting, exceptional directing and nail-biting tension. Flanagan proves he’s a genre director worth paying attention to (if you aren’t already) and can offer new approaches to tired sub-genres. Blumhouse Tilt released Hush straight to Netflix and that proves that BH Tilt fully embraces the VOD format by releasing quality genre flicks like Hush and not just using it as a dumping ground for shit movies. Can’t wait to see what else they got.

Please follow and like us: