“Hush” Review

12 April, 2016

Director: Mike Flanagan
Screenwriters: Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel
Director of Photography: James Kniest
Cast: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr.

Synopsis: A deaf-mute author who lives a solitary life out in the woods finds her survival skills severely tested after a masked man appears on her doorstep with the intention of taunting and murdering her.

Hush Review:

One of a small number of horror movies with a genuinely likeable victim, “Hush” feels unusually humble in places, mostly as a result of its protagonist’s demure yet strong-willed charm as she attempts to fend off danger. It’s easy to be on-board with the deaf woman’s plight as she does everything that a rational person could and should do in a tense and violent series of events. While having a deaf-mute character feels a bit like a cheap gimmick at first as it’s a tactic used to further hinder a protagonist in an already dire situation, “Hush” cleverly uses this trick as a way to find new angles in an old and worn-out format.

This is one of the few times where a lack of awareness can be completely justified and yet director Mike Flanagan allows his character to transcend the boundaries set by her disability as she stands strong in the face of danger. There’s something quite disturbing about not being able to hear the sound of your own fear and this is something that the film toys with from start to finish. Although he’s an undoubtedly strong horror filmmaker, there’s a sense that “Hush” isn’t Flanagan’s finest work as the competency of the protagonist undercuts some of the suspense because her refusal to feel sorry for herself often takes away from the defencelessness that we’ve come to expect from a movie of this kind.

Home invasion thrillers tend to be confined and repetitive and “Hush” suffers from both of these issues despite it being a high class entry in the sub-genre. From a character perspective it’s practically revolutionary as everyone aside from the loopy murderer is actually a believable human being rather than a selection of disposable idiots who speak more words than they have brain cells. It’s a shame that the lack of genuine scares are due to the director tapping into a higher plane of narrational competency as his skills in these areas show the genuine promise and proficiency of someone who understands the key aspects of great storytelling.


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