I dont know about you, but whenever a masked serial killer is stalking me I’m thankful for every single one of my senses. I see them walking past the hallway, I can smell the stench of my boyfriend’s fresh blood dripping from the knife, and I can hear the footsteps as they near my shitty hiding place. Okay, I made all that up. I don’t actually have a boyfriend. But if I did I would love to be able to hear his cries of agony if not at least to help me determine where Mr Masked Man (or woman) is and in Hush (2016) that’s the very dilemma–our main character cannot hear. In Mike Flanigan’s (Absentia, Oculus) latest horror/thriller, a deaf writer, Maddie (Kate Siegel, Oculus), retreats to her isolated house in the woods to live a solitary life until a masked murderer shows up at her window and relentlessly tries to gain entry. Sounds like any home invasion horror but this time the main cannot hear at all. She can’t hear him creeping up, she can’t hear the leaves crunch under his feet, and she can’t hear the ones around her screaming for help. It makes for some very unique and interesting kill scenes.
The film starts with Maddie alone at her house cooking as her friend/neighbor Sarah (Samantha Sloyan, Grey’s Anatomy) shows up to hang (Sarah feels bad that Maddie is always alone so she comes over to learn how to sign and eat Maddie’s burnt food). Through some expository dialogue you learn Sarah has a bf named John (Michael Trucco, Next, Battlestar Galactica) who’s big and plays football and will kick the shit out of you (not really but you know what I mean 😉). They chat it up and then Sarah leaves. Night falls and the shenanigans begin.
*WARNING SPOILERS BE NEAR* I will be discussing 2 scenes where the plot thickens. I will not give details on deaths but will be analyzing events leading up to them. SCROLL DOWN to “*SPOILERS BE DONE*” to continue reading or if you’re sold/lazy scroll to the bottom to see my score.
Okay, so the movie doesn’t take much time or extraneous back story to start ramping up. As Maddie is cleaning up the kitchen, scraping leftovers into the trash, Sarah appears suddenly at the glass door covered in blood and banging and screaming frantically for Maddie to let her in. Obviously she can’t hear her so it makes for an almost tangible anxiety as you wait and wait for Maddie to turn around and notice. The clock is ticking and it doesn’t seem like Sarah has much time left (why she didn’t just smash the door with a rock or something is beyond me). Maddie heads to the living room and gets on her laptop. The masked man has recently been introduced and you see him entering her sliding glass door from her porch as Maddie faces the opposite direction. It’s a really creepy shot. Shit’s tense. He takes her phone on the dining table and heads back outside. Maddie starts receiving photos on her iChat from herself (you know, because everything is linked and synced and up in the cloud nowadays) and they’re of her; documenting the last couple of minutes and shot from where her sliding door is. She slowly turns and looks into the darkness and BOOM!
*SPOILERS BE DONE*
As I said, the trepidation doesn’t take long to set in as you really really feel for Maddie’s life and really really fear for another encounter with the masked man. This is where the film really hits my g-spot. The nervous anxiety and shuddersome dread the main character feels is easily translated onto the audience. She frantically tries to keep him within eyesight to keep tabs on his whereabouts and the camera work and acting really lend to the overall discomfort and looming expectancy. Every rigid moment she spends in his presence intensifies the distress and urgency to be one step ahead at all times and to cover her back. Maddie and the masked man go back and forth like cat and mouse all night, both with their own moments of advantage over the other but ultimately Maddie knows she must confront her stalker head on to end this assault once and for all.
Hush is a crisp, refreshing take on the home invasion psychological horror/thriller. You feel immense empathy for the disadvantaged Maddie and complete abhorrence for the masked antagonist. There’s plenty of action and and violence and so much anxiety. It’s a true nail biter. It also has a slight You’re Next or even a Halloween type of vibe that’s equally comforting and unsettling (plus the killer had a pretty cool weapon of choice). I suggest you find this movie immediately and give it a gander. You won’t regret it if you’re a fan of psychological mind-fuckery and slasher films (again I find almost everything on VODLocker or PutLocker.is but just make sure you have a good pop-up blocker). It’s pretty much a perfect movie. Beyond satisfactory.
IMDB: 6.7/10 (25,889 votes) [⬅not exactly obscure but I’m assuming the budget wasn’t too high. It was literally one location]
Rotten Tomatoes: 🍅100% 🍿76% (⬅for once the critics are smarter than the audience)
DEAD🐶PUPPY: 5 silent screams/5 (⬅yaaaay our first perfect review!)