HUSH film review
Actress Kate Siegal fights of a night-stalker in HUSH

HUSH film review

Hush  

starring Kate Siegal, John Gallagher Jr.

directed by Mike Flanagan

When it comes to horror movies, genius producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions has the market tapped. When saying that, I mean they’ve figured out a way to make the film’s scary-cheap, while turning them into profit at the box- office. But for every creative hit they have in the genre (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Visit), the company definitely still delivers their misfires (Ouija, The Gallows, and every Paranormal Activity sequel). Their latest creep-feature, Hush, falls somewhere in the middle, bringing in a great concept, but only taking it halfway.

The plot? We are literally dropped into the film’s setting, where the deaf novelist Maddie (Kate Siegal, giving her all to the role) is preparing dinner at her nice house in a secluded neighborhood in the deep-woods. When her neighbor Sarah (Samantha Sloyan) pays a visit, they exchange sign-language, a conversation which instead of really adding to the plot, only slows the film down. Luckily, a masked killer soon shows up to reign nightly-terror on Maddie, for reasons that never seem to come to fruition, my only guess being that he is a very disgruntled ex-lover. And since Maddie is deaf, she will have to depend on her hearing of vibrations and hiding skills to survive the night, as the man stalks her with a cross-bow outside the house. The trick here to giving the audiences thrills is making the jacked-up sound design in-your-face loud, your earbuds gaining a serious workout as thing’s go bump in the night, and as Maddie is eventually pushed pass her limit as blood splatters and bodies pile up. But this technique seems strange, since the filmmakers involved are trying to put us in Maddie’s point-of-view, and silence should be key instead of sounds she can’t hear. And the role of The Man, played by an uneven John Gallagher Jr, feels more cliche then masked-killer dimensional, especially when he becomes, well, unmasked.

Is it all a dead-end? Sort of, as the plot becomes less and less scary, and the cheap-scares are played out. But Hush still has it’s great horror moments, particularly when Maddie must distract the killer in order to retrieve a dead-friends cellphone outside. And the visuals of characters lurking in the shadows are top-of-the-line. And Mike Flanagan shows potential for crafting something really innovative and wicked.  At the end of the day, Hush succeeds in bringing in a new idea to the “shut-in” horror genre, while also showing a great feminist edge in Maddie. I just wish they would taken the idea of having a deaf-central character further.

HUSH will be available on Netflix April 8th

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