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Hush (Movie Review)

Hush (Movie Review)
04.07.2016by: Brennan Klein
7 10
Hush Mike Flanagan Kate Siegel

PLOT: Maddie (Kate Siegel) is an author living in a secluded home in the woods, which is always the best idea. She’s become somewhat reclusive since she lost her hearing at age 13. However, tonight she will come to deeply regret her isolation when a mysterious stranger (John Gallagher, Jr.) traps her inside, vowing to kill her before the end of the night and destroying anybody and anything that gets in his way.

Hush Mike Flanagan movie review

REVIEW: The loss of a major sense can be very powerful fuel for a horror story. Of course, touch and smell are a little difficult to portray on film, and loss of taste might only be horrifying to Hannibal Lecter. However, sight and sound are the sole domain of cinema, and messing with those can have deadly consequences. Horror has pretty thoroughly explored the terrors of blindness in films like LOS OJOS DE JULIA or EYES OF A STRANGER, but there hasn’t been a film about deafness that really rises from the pack. The question is: Is HUSH that movie?

The quick answer to that is no. While the sound design emulates deafness at certain key points, this is a story that could just as easily have been told with a character that can hear. But who needs the quick answer when the long one is so much more interesting? Although the soundscape is – with some notable exceptions – relentlessly mundane, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing special about HUSH. Because the main character doesn’t speak, there are fewer than 20 minutes of dialogue in the film, allowing the entire story to be told through action and visuals.

Hush Mike Flanagan movie review

This means that the film falls n the shoulders of Kate Siegel, who must sell the reality and terror of her predicament without uttering a single word. At this, she excels, proving that she is ready to move beyond the horror outskirts (DEMON LEGACY, a small part in OCULUS) and into the big time. At the very least, we can hope for her relationship with director/husband Mike Flanagan to develop into a Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell type deal, putting her through the wringer in bigger, more extravagant ways in an increasingly awesome set of films.

Siegel isn’t the only ace in the hole, though. John Gallagher, Jr. (most recently seen in the stunning 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE) imbues his role with an almost obscenely casual air, rendering a rather flat, unmotivated character into a memorable menace. The script never does quite get a bead on what makes him tick, but the fact that he’s able to maintain his wicked charisma even when unmasked is pretty remarkable. Honestly, he’s got that over Jason Voorhees, as much as I hate to admit it.

Hush Mike Flanagan movie review

So here’s the deal with HUSH. It undeniably works, better than it has any reason to. It has a solid cast, it integrates modern technology into the story without being obnoxiously gimmicky, and there are even a handful of moments that sucker punch your nerves. Siegel’s character is resourceful and fun to watch carrying out her cat and mouse shenanigans, though flawed enough that she’s not a lady Terminator like Erin in YOU’RE NEXT (which just wouldn’t make any sense in this context).

It’s a completely solid film, but there’s absolutely no reason to rewatch it. It will be fun for a Netflix night (with or without Chill), but it’s not a story that’s begging to be told. We’ve all seen this type of cabin in the woods/stalker/home invasion formula a million times before, and while this is a remarkably successful entry in the genre, it’s not different enough to really sink your teeth into. Please check it out and have a good time, but there’s a reason it’s hitting Netflix instead of theaters. It’s a hangout horror flick rather than a vital and necessary one

Extra Tidbit: HUSH will be available on Netflix on April 8th.

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