Watch it on Netflix now.
Home invasion films have been done to death. Some are great (You’re Next), some are tolerable (The Strangers) and some are downright terrible (When A Stranger Calls, 2006). So how does one make their home invasion film stand out from the rest? There has to be some twist on the story to make it memorable. You’re Next was a great deconstruction of the genre itself and had the heroine be a survival specialist. The twist Hush brings us lies in the fact that our protagonist is completely deaf.
Maddie is a deaf author and she has secluded herself in a house in the woods to write her next book. Problems arise when someone outside her house decides to play a deadly game with Maddie and know she has to keep him out and escape alive. Again, this is a simple premise that is only made interesting by the fact that she is deaf and how the filmmakers decide to handle that aspect of the story.
The high level of suspense found in this movie is primarily achieved through to Flanagan’s clever direction, and use of silence as a crucial horror element. Kate Siegel’s fantastic performance also helps set the tense atmosphere, as her character’s hearing disability pushes her to think outside the box and find clever ways to fend off the psychotic killer in her home. The good aspects in this movie greatly overshadow the negative, which there are only a few of. John Gallagher Jr.’s performance as the antagonist is passable, as a more compelling villain could have brought an interesting layer to the movie’s rather simplistic story. However, the movie is well aware that it’s a simple, tense slasher film, and doesn’t go out of its way to become anything more. This allows for more time to be spent on developing the intensity of the situations presented in the film.
|”I can come in anytime I want. And I can get you, anytime I want. But I’m not going to. Not until it’s time. When you wish you’re dead… that’s when I’ll come inside.”
While the film does inevitably go down routine routes with the story, Flanagan does so with skill and finesse. Multiple times throughout the film we are in Maddie’s shoes as Flanagan completely mutes the audio. We see the terror happening behind her, but we cannot hear it. He can be entering the house at any point and we will not know. Flanagan manages to seep the viewer in suspense throughout the whole film and while there are some gory and squeamish scenes, he doesn’t rely on them. They feel real and earned. Looking back at the film there are multiple sequences where I was taken back or had a huge grin on my face with the ingenuity of it all.
Mike Flanagan is, no doubt, very talented and I’m excited to see what he did with ‘Before I Wake’ which I will be seeing and reviewing very soon. Watch this film if you want some genuine tension and suspense. It’s a very decent horror film.
Hush gets a 7.5/10.