Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hush Movie Review – Deceptively Thrilling

Runtime: 81 minutes
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Rating: R
Director: Mike Flanagan

Maddie Young is the author of a best selling book who lives alone in the middle of the woods and is deaf. Her nearest neighbor, Sarah, comes over early in the night after reading her book and to talk about how she plans to take a new ASL class and wants her boyfriend John to join her. After Sarah heads home for the night, Maddie settles down and struggles to work on her next book. She also receives a few phone calls from Craig who we learn was her boyfriend up until a year ago.

While cleaning up the mess she made earlier in the night while cooking, Sarah frantically rushes to her door and finding it locked, beats against the door with her hands. When that fails to grab her friend's attention, she tries screaming. An arrow comes out from nowhere, pierces her chest, and she screams some more. An unknown man in a white mask comes out of the woods, attacks Sarah, and brutally murders her in front of the large french doors.

When the man realizes that Maddie cannot hear him, he sneaks into her house and steals her cell phone. She later gets several picture messages from her own phone that show her in various parts of her own home. After finally seeing the man outside, Maddie writes a message on the door that she won't tell anyone what she saw and that she has a boyfriend who will be there soon. In response, the man lifts his mask to reveal his face, tells her that she can now identify him, and claims that he can get inside anytime he wants. Hush then becomes a cat and mouse game between an unknown assailant with a crossbow and a woman just trying to survive the night.

Hush is one of the few movies I've seen recently that actually made me gasp and occasionally scream at my television. It was so dark and twisted that you can't help having some type of response. At one point, the man drags Sarah to the window and uses her beaten and bloody hand to knock on the window. When Maddie sees him, he then uses the dead woman's hand to actually wave to her. What kind of sick fuck does that kind of thing?

The best thing about this movie is that it doesn't do the classic thing of making her deafness become a disability. While she is deaf, it doesn't focus too much on her point of view in terms of making the scenes completely silent, but it does do a great job of actually making us feel for her and wanting her to survive, whether or not she can hear. When not watching horror flicks, I tend to make some girly choices like the television show Switched at Birth. It was amazing to see a film that actually shows ASL and features a strong character who is more than just another deaf girl.

Hush was so interesting that my boyfriend came in halfway through it, sat down to smoke a cigarette, and got so caught up in it that he forget he was supposed to take a shower. It's an incredibly powerful thriller that actually made me put down my phone to focus on seeing what happened next. Everything about this film was just amazing, from the actors to the music to the pacing. It's true proof that you don't need a lot of different sets or even a ton of cash to make a movie that resonates with viewers. This is the best horror film I've seen in a long time and well worth the five stars I gave it.

Hush is currently streaming on Netflix.

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