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An interesting but irksomely forgettable mash of thrill with nil.
Hush, which comes from ex British radio DJ Mark Tonderai (who has also done some small time writing and acting gigs in the past) is an example of the kind of film that excels in areas whilst disappointing and aggravating in others. Taking on the project as both writer and director, Tonderai succumbs to too many short-cut decisions during both tasks which results in an uneven, sometimes overly derivative and cumbersome picture, but also one that is very good at playing to its strengths. The resulting experience when watching Hush then is one of subtle engagementthere are times when you'll be annoyed at decisions made by characters fictional and non, yet this too often works in favour of the film. When taken as a simple thriller, Tonderai's directorial debut succeeds; it may not be the biggest most progressive outing for the genre but it's still got a certain conviction that allows it to hurtle on regardless; careless and somewhat bold.
The same can equally be said for the movie's protagonist who comes in the form of young adult Zakes Abbot (William Ash); an obnoxious, moaning git, basically. Doing his rounds along the M1 with his disgruntled girlfriend as he posts posters on service station bathrooms for some cash while he "works on his book", Zakes inevitably winds up on the wrong side of the road after he stumbles across a truck with a hostage in the back. After having a fight with girlfriend Beth (Christine Bottomley), both eventually go in separate direction whereupon Beth, predictably, goes bye-bye when the same truck stops in for a breather. From here on in, Zakes does the movie a large portion of justice by limiting his vocal contributions to mere screams as he strives to find his girlfriend and stop the maniac who has taken her captive.
Sound familiar? Well, yes, because it is. Countless movies deal with the same basic premisesome which work, some which don't. For all intents and purposes, Hush's story doesn't really work, unfortunately, but that doesn't exactly kill the feature. To director Tonderai's credit, the amount of suspense that is delivered over the course of the movie's ninety minute runtime is palpable. Particularly impressive as a result is the movie's final act which essentially acts as one extremely long sequence of chase between Zakes and his girlfriend's captor. There are some clever devices here and there that do help flesh the whole thing out, yet the basic enjoyment factor here is that pulse-pounding threat that Tonderai builds and builds throughout; it can be exciting, and therein lies one of only two highlights to Hush's palette.
The other highlight lies in the performance of William Ash whoalthough a little dubious when delivering some lines at the beginning of the featuresells his fear amicably. For a movie such as this where the viewer's only real link into the psyche of this horror of sorts is through the central character that it's all happening against, Ash does a nice job of keeping that boat alive and breathing above water. This, in tow with Philipp Blaubach and Theo Green's contributions in the form of photography and music respectfully ensures that Hush is punctuated by a realist tone throughout which works well to its advantage.
Despite these areas where Tonderai manages to squeeze moments of suspense and engagement out of his otherwise tepid script however, Hush can be a flat and banal experiencemost prominently during the movie's first act. Built upon a mountain of derivative clichés, ridiculous plot twists and dead-end sequences that go nowhere, the narrative that exists to propel the character of Zakes is unfocused and a little short on fresh ideas to the point where the guy's name is the only real original element inherent to it's existence. To this end, Hush irrevocably wastes the above strengths on such short-sighted laziness. Not only is it disappointing, but it's frustrating too. Somewhere within the murky excess of Tonderai's script lies a genuinely seamless experience where suspense is king and plot moves, but not erratically and without clear direction. Unfortunately however, such a movie never quite surfaces and instead, Hush concedes to being an interesting but irksomely forgettable mash of thrill with nil.
A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
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