This week I took a look at Mike Flanagan’s Hush (2016). This is a film that I really enjoyed viewing. I found the idea of the film to be genuinely scary which also made the execution pleasurable. Taking the basic concept of the slasher film and elevating the story to such an interesting level really worked well for this movie.
Maddie (Kate Siegel) is an accomplished writer living far away from the city in a secluded house in the woods. She has one neighbor, Sarah (Samantha Sloyan), that she has a good relationship with. Sarah comes over to watch Maddie cook and talk to her about her writing. Maddie’s neighbor appears to be the only person physically close to her in the area. Maddie is also deaf and mute, so she communicates through her Macbook and iPhone; Sarah also practices sign language so that the two can get along better. It feels like Maddie is going to have a quiet night to herself with homemade dinner, wine and another book to work on, however plans change as we see Sarah is brutally murdered by a masked intruder (John Gallagher Jr.) outside of Maddie’s home. Upon finding out about Maddie’s condition, the killer decides that he wants to have some fun terrorizing Maddie before he kills her and it’s up to Maddie to use her brain and the rest of her senses to escape safely.
Hush is legitimately frightening. I was anxious for Maddie the entire time due to the film’s incredible suspense. What makes a home invasion even more frightening? Maybe not having the ability to hear or speak; you wouldn’t even be able to yell for help. The killer can be in your house or behind you at any time and unless you’re very skilled, you wouldn’t even know it — that is truly terrifying. I give credit to Kate Siegel’s incredible performance as Maddie. She really brought the character to life and made her three dimensional instead of just a linear character. Maddie is brilliant, self-sufficient, determined, and perhaps so intelligent that her only flaw is that she’s a bit of an over-thinker. Her strength can be summed up in her thoughts where she believes that she can’t run, she can’t hide and she can’t wait.
The masked intruder who doesn’t have a name is such a despicable character because he has no motive for any of his actions, he just simply enjoys murdering people. And what makes him even more of a terrible person is that he chooses to terrorize a lone, defenseless woman who is hearing impaired because it intrigues him. He’s one who likes to prey upon the weak. We can only hope that he is stopped in the movie.
I think Hush made great use of lighting and space to draw you into the film and make you sense the tension and intimacy between Maddie and the killer. The house is the only setting of the film, forcing you to focus on the actions between the two main characters as you yearn for Maddie to free herself. Eliminating the noise of excessive background sets makes the movie even creepier. Making the film so intimate makes you want to jump out of your chair even higher when something actually happens between Maddie and the killer.
Hush is captivating, it sticks to the story and draws you in. Most importantly it will scare you. I recommend this movie for your own personal viewing pleasure. Hush might encourage one, hearing impaired or not, to invest in quality home security.