Review - Hush
By midlandsmovies, Apr 23 2016 10:39AM
Hush (2016). Dir. Mike Flanagan
A low budget 81-minute schlock-y premise of a film, Hush takes on the formulaic home-invasion sub genre and weaves in an original idea to spin it off in this taught thriller. The addition of an affliction affecting the protagonist – in this case home-owner Madison Young is deaf – gives the film not only a new concept to base some familiar tropes around, but allows the filmmaker to deftly use sound to great effect. Madison is played sympathetically by Kate Siegel as an author with writers block living in an isolated cottage in rural woodland – such as these things go.
After her neighbour is murdered by an unknown attacker, ‘Maddie’ is stalked by this masked intruder who eventually reveals himself and is intent on killing her now she’s seen his face. Knowing of her disability, the attacker uses her ailment to his advantage and Hush brings this to the forefront as the film follows a hunt between the crossbow-armed attacker and his trapped victim.
Light and movement is used to symbolise Maddie’s tracking of her pursuer and the audience is asked to question who is hounding who. From knives tapping on locked window panes to the rustling of leaves, the film’s technical aspect of sound is used to impressive effect. Music, sound f/x and soundtrack come together well but it is the absence of noise that really increases the stress of the situation. This silence strains the anxiety to breaking point as the scenes with the aggressor’s footsteps and boisterous attempts to break-in are heard (or not in this instance) along with the concealed Maddie.
The escape attempts are thrilling and the motivations mostly believable which makes Hush a surprise twist in ‘killer’ fiction. Not having been a fan of slasher films in the past – 1996’s Scream deconstructed its tropes so perfectly – Hush had a high bar to overcome. However, the lofty tension and well constructed themes – both the subject matter and the masterful technical use of sound design – generates an attention-grabbing horror flick that genre fans and casual moviegoers will enjoy.
Midlands Movies Mike